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Full text of "The barrel mystery"

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http://www.archive.org/details/barrelmysteryOOflyniala 



THE BARREL MYSTERY 



I- 

UXIV. OF CALIF. LIBRAE* , LOS ANGELES 



THE 
BARREL MYSTERY 



BY 
WILLIAM J. FLYNN 

Chief of the United States Secret Service 
Author of "The Eagle's Eye" 



NEW YORK 

THE JAMES A. McCANN COMPANY 
1919 



Copyright 1919. by 

THE JAMES A. McCANN COMPANY 

AU Right* Reserved 



Printed in the U.S. A 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. The Barrel Murder 1 

II. What Was the Motive for the Murder? . . 18 

III. Organized Terrorism 23 

IV. Counterfeit Bills Appear 31 

V. The Greenhorn's Story 44 

VI. Don Pasquale, Black-Hand Skirmisher ... 51 

VII. The Plant of the Counterfeiters 65 

VIII. The Cow That Caused a Double Murder ... 83 

IX. The Society 85 

X. Meeting the Arch-Bandit 88 

XI. The Black-Hander's Police Protection ... 97 

XII. A Knock at the Door at 2 A. M 110 

XIII. The Black-Handers in Session 117 

XIV. Printing the Bad Money 130 

XV. Some "After-Dinner" Confessions 140 

XVI. Evading the Gang in Vain 148 

XVII. Caught Again! 157 

XVIII. Pinching the Greenhorn 169 

XIX. The "Black-Hand" Doctor 172 

XX. The "Black-Hand" Testament 199 

XXI. "The Vermilion Flower on the Big Toe" . . 203 

XXII. The Gentle Art of Writing "Black-Hand" 

Letters 206 

XXIII. Five Hundred Dollars for a Badly Written 

Letter 215 

XXIV. Methods of Blackmailing 221 

XXV. Tracing a Letter 226 

XXVI. "Black-Hand" Propaganda 239 

XXVII. The Watchword of the "Black-Handers" . . 262 



21 



£9558 



THE BARREL MYSTERY 



CHAPTER I 



THE BARREL MURDER 



Where the East River swims around the foot 
of Eleventh Street is an old abandoned wooden 
dock that looks more like the broken skeleton of 
a buried wreck than the thing it used to be. A 
covey of barges are huddled against the wharf 
opposite, and this wharf gradually becomes 
solid pavement where the lumber yard begins. 
It fronts the street with the most dilapidated 
board fence in Christendom made up of broken 
odds and ends covered with a crazy patchwork 
of corrugated iron scrap stained and rusted by 
the weather. If an old-time pirate — one of 
those romantic devils with scarred and battered 
features and a black patch over one eye — 
should suddenly peer at you through one of the 
many cracks in the splintered stockade you could 
not be very surprised ; in fact, you would almost 
expect it to happen. 

Farther up is a livery stable, a mere hole in 
a pile of bricks, once red now slavered over with 



2 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

white-wash once white. Outside is a man clip- 
ping the mane of a truck horse with its harness 
dragging in the filth. On the corner is a sa- 
loon, such as you find on the East Side, shoul- 
dering against the dry dock storage for live 
poultry with chorus of cackling inmates. On 
the corner opposite is a huge, green cheese of 
a building occupied by various small manufac- 
turers. The third corner bulges with the huge 
cisterns of the gas works soiled and smeared with 
soot and fumes. The fourth corner has become 
historic. Every secret service man in the city 
knows what is on the Northwest corner of East 
Eleventh Street and Avenue D. They know 
the old, battered red brick walls that belong to 
the New York Mallet Works, walls that look 
as if they have been scarred by a fusilade of ma- 
chine guns, walls with rusted chicken-wire net- 
ting before windows that are never cleaned ex- 
cept when the rain is drumming against them, 
walls that are broken by a huge portal closed 
by a worm-eaten, wooden gate quite in keeping 
with the whole thing. There is a ramshackle 
tenement next door with rooms for rent and 
shutters all drawn — shutters that were doubtless 
a shrill green once upon a time but now camou- 



THE BARREL MURDER 3 

flaged by the blasts of blistering sun and cut- 
ting rains into a crazy-quilt of strange hues, 
shutters maimed and broken and dangling and 
just hanging together. The only open aperture 
in the weird and forbidden dwelling is the en- 
trance, breathing filth and the sour odor of 
poverty. Crowding close to the tenement is an 
almost cavernous fodder and feed store, its 
broken, soiled windows half -hidden behind shat- 
tered boards and laths from which remnants of 
bill-posters, stained and ragged, flutter now and 
then. A heap of rubbish, garlanded with a jum- 
ble of rusty wire and battered tin cans, adorns 
the broken curb. A pair of cast-off baby shoes 
with buttons dangling are sailing on a pool of 
dirty water. 

Desolate as the spot is it appeared even more 
so on the morning of April fourteenth, 1903, in 
the haze and the drizzling rain of an early hour. 
But Mrs. Frances Conner s, an Irish woman, 
did not notice these things as she crossed the 
spot on her way to the bakeshop to get rolls 
for breakfast. She was used to the place. 
Wrapped up in the red sweater affected by 
East Side women and bending her head under 
her umbrella, she paid no attention to the very 



4 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

things that would have made a stranger pause 
and gaze. As she slipped across the corner, 
however, she noticed a barrel standing on the 
curb in front of the mallet works. That barrel 
was not there the day before. It was quite a 
big barrel, the kind they use for shipping sugar. 
Her feminine curiosity was aroused and she re- 
traced her steps. In this instance curiosity re- 
vealed a deed that horrified the entire country, 
frightened the citizens of New York, and threw 
the Detective Bureau at Police Headquarters 
into a panic. The revelation also brought home 
to many people the disquieting realization that 
there were assassins in our midst that defied the 
efforts of our police to cope with them. 

An overcoat was thrown over the top of the 
barrel. It was fairly damp but not quite wet, 
indicating that it could not have been there very 
long. Mrs. Conners raised the coat. Quickly 
she let it drop and screamed. There was a man's 
body crushed into the barrel. The body was in 
a doubled-up position, both feet and one hand 
sticking over the rim of the barrel. 

Summoned by Mrs. Conners' screams the 
neighborhood was on its feet in an instant. A 
panicky crowd gathered on the fateful corner 



THE BARREL MURDER 5 

listening with gaping mouths and blanched faces 
to the frightened chatter of the Irish woman. 
Morbid curiosity prompted a few to raise the 
coat and take a look. Every time this was done 
some of the women would scream hysterically. 

A policeman came running up. The body in 
the barrel was still warm when the officer ex- 
amined it after rolling the barrel over and drag- 
ging the victim out. About the dead man's neck 
was wound a strip of gunny-sack. When re- 
moved it revealed more than a dozen wounds 
any one of which would have resulted in death. 
An ambulance surgeon came at a gallop. He 
declared that the man could not have been dead 
more than two hours at the most. 

The corpse was taken to the Union Market 
Police Station. The examination made there 
led to the conclusion that the victim was a man 
about the age of forty. His complexion was 
swarthy and his ears were pierced with rings. 
The clothing about the dead man's body was of 
good quality, and there was nothing about the 
physical make-up to indicate that he belonged to 
the laboring class. The forehead was of the 
high, receding type, and it was partly covered 
with thin, curly hair of a light-brown tinge. 



6 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

The moustache was turning grey. On the left 
cheek were two scars an inch or more in length 
forming the letter "V" inverted. It was an 
old scar. 

A closer inspection of the hody revealed that 
at least two weapons must have been used by 
the assassin or assassins. A narrow, two-edged 
blade had evidently been used for inflicting the 
wound just below the left ear. This stab was 
made by a powerful hand for it was at least three 
inches deep. A wound above the Adam's apple 
penetrated sheer to the spinal cord, and was 
doubtless done by the same weapon. Numerous 
other and smaller wounds were of a like char- 
acter. A slash extending from ear to ear across 
the throat was probably done with a long, sharp 
blade. 

In searching the clothing of the dead man a 
little brass bound crucifix was found. It was of 
foreign make with a Latin motto on the scroll 
work above the figure of the Saviour, and a 
skull-and-cross-bones at the base of the crucifix. 
This was found in a waistcoat, in which we also 
located a silver watch-chain similar in make to 
those common to the peasantry of Southern 
Italy. The crucifix was one that is not common 



THE BARREL MURDER 7 

to any locality. There was an overcoat on the 
body, and in one of the pockets two handker- 
chiefs were found, one of which was small in size 
and faintly perfumed. The only identification 
mark on the clothing was on the shoes, which 
were marked "Burt & Co., opposite Produce Ex- 
change." The shoes were worn, and there was 
a small patch on one of them. The gunny sack 
about the throat was marked by the blood stains 
only. Stencilled on the barrel were the initials 
"W & T" on the bottom; on the sides "G 233." 
It was a regulation sugar barrel, and the bot- 
tom was covered with about three inches of saw- 
dust soaked with blood. Onion peels and some 
stubs of cigars of the stogie make were scat- 
tered in the sawdust, the kind of cigars that are 
sold in Italian stores and bar-rooms. A charred 
note in the handwriting of a woman was found 
in the barrel. Two written lines were in part 
legible: "Giorne che venite — subito l'urgenza." 
Translated the words might read: "Day that 
you come — suddenly the urgency." 

Every device of detection known to the New 
York Detective Bureau was brought into serv- 
ice. Inspector George W. McCloskey, head of 
the bureau in person, aided by picked men, 



8 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

scoured every nook and corner of New York in 
an effort to learn, first of all, the identity of the 
victim. The whole uniformed force was also in- 
structed to follow any little lead of informa- 
tion which might indicate a connection with the 
murder. No identification, however, developed. 

I read of the murder in the afternoon news- 
papers. This was on April fourteenth. I re- 
called certain unusual activities among the band 
of "Black Handers" on the night of April 12, 
which was about thirty-odd hours before the mur- 
der must have been committed. It came to my 
mind that I had seen a face new among the mem- 
bers of the gang. I went to the morgue and 
looked at the dead man. I identified him as the 
stranger who recently appeared at the haunts 
of the Black Handers. (When I say Black 
Handers, I mean also counterfeiters.) Two 
other secret service men also identified him. The 
body was taken out of the ice and measured ac- 
cording to the Bertillon method. 

For some time prior to the murder I had been 
closely in touch with Morello, with Lupo and 
others of their band. I had them under surveil- 
lance for the purpose of arresting them on a 
' charge of counterfeiting. 



THE BARREL MURDER 9 

On the night of April 12, having accumulated 
considerable information concerning this band, I 
personally picked up the trail and followed sev- 
eral members of the band from their counter- 
feiting headquarters in the cafe at Elizabeth and 
Prince Streets. Just around the corner from 
this cafe was the saloon of Ignazio Lupo, an- 
other rendezvous of the gang. In the rear of 
Lupo's saloon Giuseppe Morello conducted an 
Italian restaurant. 

Trailing along, I followed several of the gang 
to the butcher store of Vito La Duca, at No. 16 
Stanton Street, which is just east of the Bowery. 
Among those present in the store was Morello, 
whom I had arrested four months previously for 
counterfeiting. He was the only one of the 
gang which I had arrested who had escaped con- 
viction. Two others of the men present were 
Antonio Geneva and Domenico Pecoraro, both 
of whom I knew well. And while the three 
whom I have already named were in animated 
conversation near the rear of the shop, a fourth 
man, a face new to me, stood apart from the 
others near the door. He was the same man 
found less than forty hours later in the barrel. 

While the conversation took place in the rear 



10 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

of the shop I saw a piece of bagging being hung 
up as a curtain over the glass in the door lead- 
ing from the street into the store. It was but 
a few minutes later that I saw a covered wagon 
driving up to the door. Two men hopped down 
from the seat and entered the shop. One of 
them came out again after a couple of minutes 
and drove away. Shortly after eight o'clock 
that evening the visitors left La Duca's store. 
They split up into two groups, the stranger go- 
ing toward the Bowery with Morello and 
Pecoraro. 

I communicated with Inspector McCloskey, 
then in charge of the Detective Bureau at Police 
Headquarters, and told him what I have just 
related. Immediately there was a rounding up 
of the gang, my men pairing off with the head- 
quarters detectives and locating eleven of the 
members of the Black-Hand Society. Here is 
the list of those arrested as suspects for the 
murder: 

Giuseppe Morello, of "No. 178 Chrystie Street. 

Ignazio Lupo, of No. 433 West Fortieth 
Street. 



THE BARREL MURDER 11 

Messina Genova, of No. 538 East Fifteenth 
Street. 

Vito La Duca, of No. 16 Stanton Street. 

Pietro Inzarillo, of No. 226 Elizabeth Street. 

Domenico Pecoraro, of No. 198 Chrystie 
Street. 

Lorenzo Lobido, of No. 308 Mott Street. 

Giuseppe Fanara, of No. 25 Rivington 
Street. 

Giuseppe La Lamia, of No. 47 Delancey 
Street. 

Nicola Testa, of No. 16 Stanton Street. 

Luciano Perrino, of No. 47 Delancey Street. 

Perrino was also known as Tomasso Petto. 
He was known among the members of the Black 
Hand aggregation as "II Bove," meaning 
"The Ox." 

Here was certainly a murderous aggregation 
of the most pronounced criminal type. They 
were all of them from Sicily. Most of them 
were armed with a revolver, some also had 
knives and even stilettos. On Morello the police 
found a .45 caliber revolver. A knife was 
tucked away in the waistband of his trousers, a 
cork being fixed at the point of the blade so that 



12 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

it would not scratch his leg. Petto, the Ox, 
whom Inspector McCafferty of the detective 
bureau, and I arrested later, carried his pistol in 
a holster and a sheath for his stiletto. Most of 
the suspects had permits from the New York 
Police Department to carry revolvers. It was 
this incident, practically, which brought on the 
crusade against, and the passing of the law for- 
bidding, the carrying of dangerous weapons. 

The prisoners were presently hurried to the 
Morgue, where each of them had a look at the 
dead man. They were asked individually wheth- 
er they knew him. The answer was the usual 
one — a shrug of the shoulders and the words "No 
understand," "don't know." Morello and Peco-* 
raro were both asked whether they knew the dead 
man, but denied that they had ever seen him; 
this in face of my seeing the two in the company 
of the man now dead less than forty hours before 
he was murdered. The dead man still remained 
without a name, and without a friend or relative 
coming to claim kinship. 

Information began to percolate into my office 
which induced me to take a trip to Sing Sing 
prison in an effort to bring about the identifica- 
tion of the dead man. It was plain to me al- 



THE BARREL MURDER 13 

ready then that the police force was failing in its 
efforts. I resolved to take a personal interest in 
the murder and to clear it up if possible. 

At this point, let me inform the reader that an 
anonymous letter was addressed to Lieutenant 
Joseph Petrosino of the Italian Detective Squad, 
then a part of the New York Police Department. 
This letter proved to be of value in elucidating 
particulars aiding us in identifying the man 
found murdered in the barrel. The Lieutenant 
showed this letter to me. Knowing that Petro- 
sino was the best man in the Police Department 
to handle the situation, I asked him to go to Sing 
Sing Prison to investigate. 

Petrosino took along a photograph of the mur- 
dered man. Several of the convicts failed to 
identify the photograph, but the third man ques- 
tioned by Petrosino, Giuseppe DePriema, looked 
at the photograph and said: "That is Maruena 
Benedetto, my brother-in-law. What has hap- 
pened?" 

DePriema completed the identification by cor- 
roborating the watch chain and the crucifix. He 
also described accurately the scar on Benedetto's 
face. At first, DePriema was terror-stricken. 
Later on, however, he grew angry, as only the 



14 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

Sicilian bent on murder can get angry. He gave 
us the Buffalo address of Benedetto, and told us 
all about the dead man's business as a stone cut- 
ter. DePriema said that his brother-in-law had 
been out of work for some months past, that he 
had left Buffalo to associate himself with a band 
of counterfeiters in New York. 

It is my personal opinion that if the New York 
police had not blundered after arresting the gang 
named the murderer would have been located in 
short order. The police made the mistake of 
locking up the gang together, so that they could 
speak and plan together. Each man should 
have been incarcerated separately. The detec- 
tives also failed to examine all the letters and all 
the papers taken from the prisoners when 
searched. 

Returning to New York from Sing Sing, 
Petrosino came directly to me. Together we 
went to Police Headquarters and asked to be 
shown the letters and papers taken from the sus- 
pects. Among the litter I found a pawn-ticket 
for a watch which had been pledged at a Bowery 
pawnshop for one dollar on the day of the mur- 
der. The ticket was found on Petto, the Ox. 
It was positively identified by the wife of Bene- 



THE BARREL MURDER lg 

detto, who was brought on from Buffalo. Cer- 
tain markings and engravings were described by 
Mrs. Benedetto, which could have been known 
only to one closely acquainted with the time- 
piece. 

With this evidence to proceed upon, Petto, the 
Ox, was indicted by the Grand Jury, after being 
held without bail on the murder charge. Mean- 
while, the other suspects were turned out by 
Police Magistrate Barlow because there was not 
sufficient evidence to hold them on the murder 
charge. Murder in the first degree was the 
charge against Petto. 

From then on evidence began to accumulate 
that convinced me personally of the existence of 
an organized "Black Hand" society in New 
York City. Eminent counsel was engaged and 
a large fund raised by the criminal associates of 
Petto, the Ox, to fight for his freedom. During 
the time that Petto was incarcerated, informa- 
tion came to me that each and every one of the 
gang was from the same town in Sicily; a place 
named Corleone, about twenty-seven miles from 
Palermo. It was in Palermo that Lieutenant 
Joseph Petrosino, of the New York Police Force, 
was murdered eventually while in quest of spe- 



16 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

cial information for Police Commissioner Theo- 
dore Bingham. We also ferreted out the sig- 
nificant fact that in order to gain the inner circle 
of the secret society, which was furnishing funds 
for the defense of Petto, the applicant would 
have to he from the town of Corleone. 

When Petto had been held in the Tombs 
Prison for more than four months his attorney 
asked that he be released on his own recogni- 
zance, the attorney stating that there was not suf- 
ficient evidence upon which to bring the accused 
to trial with any fair hope of convicting him. No 
sooner was Petto released than he disappeared 
from his accustomed haunts with the gang in 
New York. 

But Petto did not escape the eye of the Secret 
Service. He was traced to Pittston, Pa. Nor 
did Petto escape a blood relative of the murdered 
man. Probably I had better explain at this 
point that there is an unwritten law among the 
Italians of southern Sicily that when a member 
of a family is murdered, the crime must be 
avenged by a blood relative of the murdered per- 
son. If no blood relative is available, a kinsman 
by marriage assumes the task. 

Petto soon became the leader of a band of 



THE BARREL MURDER 17 

black-handers who preyed upon the Italian min- 
ers in Pittston. Then one night, when the 
streets were slippery with a cold, drizzling rain, 
there came an ominous knock at his door. Petto 
sensed that something was wrong. He made 
ready for any emergency and drew his big re- 
volver. But the unknown visitor was quicker 
than the murderer of Benedetto, and the aim was 
certain. Five bullets stopped the Black Hander 
forever. A dagger was sunk into the heart of 
Petto, the Ox, to make doubly sure that he was 
not playing 'possum. Beside the warm body of 
Petto his revolver was found fully loaded. The 
hand holding the revolver was partly shot away. 
On his body was discovered a little brass-bound 
crucifix with a skull-and-cross-bones at the 
Saviour's feet, an exact duplicate of that taken 
from the body of the man found in the barrel. 
As far as the police records show, the avenger 
of Benedetto has never been apprehended. 
Whether the avenger has since suffered a fate 
similar to his victim I cannot at this moment say. 



CHAPTER II 

WHAT "WAS THE MOTIVE FOR THE MURDER? 

How do I know that Petto, the Ox, murdered 
Benedetto? you would ask. 

And what could be the motive for his crime? 

Follow me a little further. 

In January, 1903, several months before Bene- 
detto's body was found in the barrel, three Ital- 
ians were arrested in the City of Yonkers. They 
were Isadoro Crocervera, Salvatore Romano and 
Giuseppe DePriema. The latter is the brother- 
in-law of the barrel-murder victim. The three 
men were apprehended by the local police in 
Yonkers on the charge of passing counterfeit 
five-dollar notes of the National Iron Bank of 
Morristown, New Jersey. The secret service 
men were well aware that these notes were being 
imported from Italy by the Morello gang. 

When I was called into the case, the Yonkers 
police, who made the arrest, told me that the 
three men were accompanied by another Italian, 

18 



WHAT WAS THE MOTIVE? 19 

a short fellow, who got away. Knowing the 
ways of the gang, it was plain to me that the 
escaped Italian was the treasurer of the crew 
passing the counterfeit money. Such a treas- 
urer is always hiding in the distance with the 
greater bulk of the counterfeit bills for the pur- 
pose of making a get-away if the passers get into 
trouble and are arrested. The treasurer is sup- 
posed to rush away to the secret meeting place 
of the Black-Hand Society, where a counsel is 
held to decide just what plan to follow in the 
effort to get the members who have been arrested 
out of their peril. 

From the description given me of the Italian 
who made his get-away I recognized him as a 
counterfeiter already registered in the files of the 
Secret Service as Number Six. I was also able 
to identify Crocervera and DePriema as mem- 
bers of the Corleone gang. 

My next move was to bring the Yonkers offi- 
cers to New York and place them where they 
could have a good look at Number Six. The 
officers identified the man without hesitation. 
Number Six was arrested, therefore, on Febru- 
ary 19, and gave the name of Giuseppe Giallam- 
bardo. He got six years. 



20 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

The Black Handers were puzzled. They 
could not understand how it happened that Gial- 
lambardo had come into the toils unless one of 
the three men arrested had "squealed." And 
perhaps I should say right here that the gang 
never realized they were ever under surveillance, 
and that every move made by them individually 
was noted in the daily reports of Secret Service 
sent to Washington. 

When Crocervera and DePriema were brought 
to my office I knew in advance that neither of 
them would talk, having had the characteristics 
of the men recorded long before they were ar- 
rested. However, in order to give Crocervera 
the impression that DePriema had told me a lot 
of the workings of the gang, I hit upon the idea 
of keeping DePriema in my inner office for sev- 
eral hours while Crocervera remained in an outer 
office. I was timing my effort for a purpose. 
As DePriema was leaving, I stepped to the door 
with him and shook his hand warmly and patted 
him on the back in order that Crocervera, seeing 
the performance, might gain the impression that 
DePriema had confessed all he knew about the 
gang. Naturally, the object of this move was 
to tempt Crocervera to talk and give information 



WHAT WAS THE MOTIVE? 21 

important to the government. But Crocervera 
did not talk. The subsequent arrest of Giallam- 
bardo served to strengthen the impression al- 
ready planted in the mind of Crocervera that De- 
Priema had betrayed him, and we overheard Cro- 
cervera telling this to the members of the gang 
while they were in our office. 

The gang was not in position to tale revenge 
on DePriema, as he was in Sing Sing prison, 
where the three men had been sent upon convic- 
tion on the charge of passing counterfeit money. 
Following the hereditary Sicilian custom, the 
gang then proceeded to select a blood relative of 
DePriema and mark him for murder. There 
being no male blood relative of DePriema on 
this side of the Atlantic, the Black Hand Society 
decided that the nearest male relative must pay 
the penalty for DePriema's treason. Benedetto, 
the brother-in-law, was chosen as the sacrifice. 

These details of the motive of the murder, and 
the society's choosing Petto, the Ox, to do the 
killing were confessed to me several years later 
by members of the gang after I succeeded in con- 
victing them for counterfeiting and had them 
sentenced to long terms in the Federal Peniten- 
tiary at Atlanta, Georgia. 



22 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

As to the identity of Benedetto's kinsman, who 
made certain of his aim at Petto, the Ox, near 
the Italian rendezvous where "II Bove" held 
sway in the little Pennsylvania city, I can only 
answer at the present writing that the kinsman 
was not DePriema, because the latter was still 
in Sing Sing Prison when the murder of the man 
in the barrel was avenged. 



CHAPTER III 



ORGANIZED TERRORISM 



From what has been related so far, I presume 
the reader may gain some idea of the dangerous 
type of men whom I refer to as members of the 
Black-Hand Society. 

You are now familiar with the kind of punish- 
ment meted out to one whom the gang suspects 
of having betrayed a member. You have also 
been acquainted with the Sicilian custom of re- 
venge by way of an actual example showing how 
the slayer of the man in the barrel came to his 
end in a manner that is as certain as daylight fol- 
lows darkness. It is the racial idea of the an- 
tique Hebrew law, "An eye for an eye and a 
tooth for a tooth." The Sicilian "vendetta" de- 
mands a life for a life. You may have noted 
further that the police of New York and the 
machinery of the law failed to track down the 
slayer of the man in the barrel. A circumstance 

23 



24 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

that makes it singularly difficult for the author- 
ities to cope with this type of criminals is that 
the Sicilian does not ask the police for help when 
a member of his family is murdered. He keeps 
it quiet. And as quietly a blood relative of the 
slain person assumes the responsibility which we 
Americans place on the police and the courts. 
The end of Petto, the Ox, shows exactly what 
happens when individual vengeance succeeds in 
place of justice meted out by a court of law. 

The reader will remember that when the crim- 
inal band, which the police rounded up in con- 
nection with the barrel murder, were turned out 
by the police magistrate, because there was in- 
sufficient evidence to hold them for the murder 
of Benedetto, the suspects dropped out of sight 
as far as the police of New York were concerned. 

The Secret Service kept its eagle eye on them, 
however. Every suspect was carefully "shad- 
owed" by a special operative. We expected that 
they would gravitate back to their haunts, and 
they did. We spotted them in such places as the 
cafe of Pietro Inzarillo, at No. 226 Elizabeth 
Street, and in the dark, little Italian grocery 
shop of Ignazio Lupo, at No. 8 Prince Street, 
which is just around the corner from Inzarillo's 



ORGANIZED TERRORISM 25 

place. We also located suspects loafing around 
the dingy, garlic-smelling restaurant of Giu- 
seppe Morello, tucked away in the rear of Lupo's 
grocery shop, like an evil thing afraid of the 
light of day. 

Criminals wanted by Uncle Sam are not suf- 
fered to drop from the sight of the Secret Serv- 
ice. Members of this gang were busy in the 
counterfeit money line. The government was 
necessarily interested in following their move- 
ments. Consequently I stayed right on the job 
with my men at trailing and spotting the sus- 
pects. After a while I had in my possession 
quite a neat bundle of facts that gradually dis- 
closed to us the impulse and the motives behind 
this crime-hardened gang of men. I say with- 
out the slightest hesitation that the basic, under- 
lying motive of these men is a fierce and uncom- 
promising passion to get rich quick. That is 
what makes them murderous criminals. It is the 
same get-rich-quick impulse that we find among 
unscrupulous business men and gamblers, but it 
is of a much more dangerous caliber and preg- 
nant with every sinister motive to the most hor- 
rible and debased forms of crime. It is true 
that the "Black-Handers" got a pretty good 



26 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

start in this country before the authorities were 
alive to the danger, but it is also true that the 
Secret Service did finally succeed in rounding up 
the leaders and their henchmen, reducing the ne- 
farious operations to a minimum. Had this not 
been done just about the time it was actually 
done, the "Black Hand" Society would have in- 
creased its stranglehold upon the population to 
a point where the police might not have been able 
to guarantee the personal safety of the citizens. 
Even at the present time, when the authorities 
may be said to have the situation well in hand, 
the danger of renewed "Black Hand" activities 
by other groups would not be removed if the 
Secret Service were to relax its vigilance for ever 
so short a time. The threat of Bolshevism, al- 
ready flaring upon the horizon, as a menacing 
torch over murder-maddened mobs defying law 
and order, would be a welcome brother. In the 
chaos created, if the Red Bolsheviks should ever 
succeed in demoralizing this country, the male- 
factors of the "Black Hand" Society would 
thrive as maggots in a cheese. A mixed brand 
of terrorism would soon show its evil head, a 
mixed brand that would bring every decent citi- 



ORGANIZED TERRORISM 27 

zen to shudder at the mention of BLACK 
BOLSHEVISM. 

In looking into the motives of the men who 
represented the Sicilian Mafia, or "Black Hand" 
Society, in this country, I was fortunate to elu- 
cidate not a few particulars that go to show how 
these criminals actually operate. 

The Black Handers here would terrorize their 
less courageous countrymen from the provinces 
of Southern Italy. They had been at this form 
of blackmail for some years. Lupo and Morello 
were the leaders. The money obtained by black- 
mail and threats of various kinds was divided 
among a few men, but most of the funds went 
to Lupo and Morello. As fast as Morello got 
money he would farm it out by acquiring a bar- 
ber shop or set up a man in a shoe repairing shop. 
He also invested in several Italian restaurants. 
Lupo was in the habit of putting his money into 
Italian grocery stores. He soon became one of 
the greatest importers of olive oil and Italian 
lemons in New York, City. It is known that 
more than $200,000 was accumulated by the two 
leaders in a few years. This estimate is based 
on testimony submitted by people who have com- 



'28 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

plained since of the way in which they were ter- 
rorized. 

Lupo and Morello were an ideal combination 
to force leadership upon the "Black Handers" 
in this country. Morello was the rough, bearish 
and hairy-looking monster, cruel as a fiend, and 
always unshaven. Lupo was the well-dressed, 
soft-spoken, slick-looking "gent" of pretended 
refinement. He, too, was cruel and heartless. 
Lupo was the business man of the two. 
Morello had in his make-up more of the cun- 
ning of the born criminal. He was cautious 
like the fox and ferocious like a maddened bull. 
Lupo was always suggesting new business ways 
for the investing of the blackmail money. To 
Lupo's scheming brain can also be traced the 
proposition to build a tenement house with such 
funds as he and Morello could spare from the 
various barber shops and the importing ventures 
in which they were interested. 

They built one tenement house and sold it at 
a profit. They built several other tenement 
houses and likewise sold these at a profit. Every 
time they would take the money and reinvest in 
more buildings. It was also at Lupo's sugges- 
tion that a scheme was concocted to form an as- 



ORGANIZED TERRORISM 29 

sociation for building purposes with the object 
of selling stock in the association to Italians from 
Southern Italy only and exclusively. The asso- 
ciation was called the Ignatz Florio Association 
of Corleone. 

The main purpose of this association was to 
accumulate sufficient funds to erect two rows of 
Italian tenements in One Hundred and Thirty- 
seventh Street and One Hundred and Thirty- 
eighth Street and Cypress Avenue, in the Bronx. 
Stock in the association was placed on sale for 
three dollars and five dollars per share. When 
the dividends came due, payment was made or 
the dividend turned over to the account of the 
holder of the stock. The tenements went up in 
quick succession. 

Lupo and Morello finally succeeded in getting 
the control of the association entirely in their 
own hands. They used the funds to develop 
their business ventures, Morello specializing in 
barber and shoe shops, Lupo sticking to his olive 
oil importing enterprise. Some of the contrac- 
tors who put up the tenements were paid, and 
some were not. Those who had furnished mate- 
rials for the buildings received some manner of 
payment, but there were several who got noth- 



30 THE BARREL MYSTERY; 

ing. Law suits began to threaten the two lead- 
ers. The holders of the stock began to inquire 
rather insistently about dividends. 

At this juncture, Lupo and Morello stuck 
their heads together and hatched a deep-dyed 
scheme for making counterfeit money. They 
would establish a large counterfeiting plant. 
They would take the counterfeit stuff and give 
it to the stockholders in the association. For 
every thirty-five cents which the association owed 
to a holder of stock Morello and Lupo would 
give one full dollar in counterfeit money. The 
person receiving the counterfeit money would be 
obliged to dispose of it according to the directions 
given by Lupo and Morello, who held themselves 
competent to instruct the members of the associa- 
tion so that the bad, money could be disposed of 
without risk of arrest. This counterfeiting 
scheme was hatched in the summer of 1908 in the 
rear of Morello's evil-smelling, dingy little spa- 
ghetti joint. 



CHAPTER IV 

COUNTERFEIT BILLS APPEAR 

In May, 1909, counterfeit two-dollar and five- 
dollar bills began to appear in many of the large 
cities, such as New York, Philadelphia, Pitts- 
burgh, Buffalo, Chicago and Boston. Some of 
the bills were distributed as far away as New 
Orleans. The simultaneous appearance of the 
bills in so many different cities indicated quite 
plainly that a large band was operating in the 
distribution of the bad money. 

Ever since Lupo and Morello and his asso- 
ciates were arrested in 19&8, and were turned 
out by the Police Magistrate because there was 
not sufficient evidence to hold them for the barrel 
murder, I had not lost sight of them. They 
were being trailed all the time, day and night. 
As a result of my watchfulness, I learned many 
things that have since proven to be very useful 
to the government in its efforts to keep the coun- 
terfeiting of money down to a minimum. 

31 



32 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

Among other things, I learned that Morello 
made frequent trips to Chicago and other cities 
where the counterfeit money seemed to flourish. 
Morello made a flying trip to New Orleans on 
one occasion when my men tracked him all the 
way. When his train arrived in Philadelphia we 
knew he was on board; when the train reached 
Baltimore we knew he was on the train, and when 
he arrived at Washington we knew where the 
"Black-Hand" leader was; and so on, till he ar- 
rived in New Orleans. On his arrival there cer- 
tain Italian confederates were waiting for him 
and escorted their chief to a little Italian cafe 
where a conference was held in a back room last- 
ing a little longer than two hours. Immediately 
after the conference was over, Morello took the 
next train back to New York. 

Now enters into the story a man by the name 
of Antonio Cecala. Remember the name of this 
man, for he plays an important part in the game 
for the remainder of the story. Cecala, whom 
we will establish here as the third executive 
bandit in the Lupo-Morello group, made trips to 
Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Cecala 
proved a valuable aid to the two "Black-Hand" 
captains. 



COUNTERFEIT BILLS APPEAR 33 

Lupo was tracked by Secret Service men to 
cities where the counterfeit money was circulat- 
ing. Another thread of investigation disclosed 
the not unimportant fact that there were mem- 
bers of the Ignatz Florio Association scattered 
all over the United States, especially in the pop-: 
ulous centers where the five- and two-dollarj 
counterfeit bills were being circulated. Besides,' 
I was getting information daily from banks and 
merchants that the bills were being "pushed on 
the market" in abundance. I also learned that' 
Italians from Corleone, Sicily, were the only. 
Italians who were trusted in these centers by the, 
Morello-Lupo gang, pointing to the probability; 
that the bad bills were being circulated and 
"pushed" through native Corleonians exclusively. 

Another clue showed that the bills were being 
manufactured somewhere in the immediate vicin- 
ity of New York City. I fine-combed the State 
of New York upon learning this. Naturally,' 
my attention was focused on the Corleone Ital- 
ians in New York City. In this way I gathered 
that Lupo had fled from his creditors, to whom 
he owed money in connection with his Italian 
grocery stores business. I finally succeeded in 
locating him living in Ardonia, New York, which 



34 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

is not very far from Highland on the Hudson 
River. 

Past experience with these Morello-Lupo 
counterfeiters had taught me not to make an 
arrest until I had the net completely woven 
around the men who made the money. It is fu- 
tile to arrest the "pusher s-of-the-queer" — that is, 
the men who distribute the bad money among the 
little Italian grocery stores and shoe shops, small 
merchants, and the like. The arrest of these men 
only serves to warn the manufacturers of the bad 
money that the Secret Service is on the trail. 
The factory then closes down, and it is moved 
away to another location. Even if a conviction 
of the distributor of the bad money is obtained, 
no definite information can be obtained from the 
convicted man. He could not tell the govern- 
ment anji;hing of value even if he wished to 
"squeal." As a rule, all that a "pusher" or dis- 
tributor can tell is where he got the bad money. 

Here is where Antonio Cecala looms up as a 
very important criminal factor in the counterfeit- 
ing game as plied by the Black Handers under 
the leadership of Lupo and Morello. Remem- 
ber this : Lupo and Morello always remain in the 
background. Cecala was the connecting link be- 



COUNTERFEIT BILLS APPEAR 35 

tween the two leaders and the "pushers-of-the- 
queer." 

Cecala was the man who got in touch with 
those who wanted to buy the counterfeit money 
to circulate it at the rate of thirty-five cents on 
the dollar. 

H Cecala was careful to deal only with men whom 
he knew — men who were from Corleone. He 
i would pick six of these as his deputies. These 
deputies would choose six others, and so on. 
Cecala made business trips to other cities and 
took the orders for counterfeit money. He also 
had the say as to whom should be the agent in 
each city directly responsible to him. These va- 
rious deputies were required to give their O. K. 
before any money would be sent to or given to 
any person by Cecala. 

As soon as Cecala would receive a request from 
a deputy for money to be passed to certain Ital- 
ians asking for it, it was Cecala's job to go to 
Lupo and Morello and obtain their sanction be- 
fore the money would be handed along down the 
line from the distributing plant to the person 
buying it at thirty-five cents on the dollar for the 
obvious purpose of "pushing" it off on some un- 
wary store-keeper. 



36 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

The reader can now readily appreciate that 
with a crafty organization like this the "pusher'* 
could not testify, even if he desired, that he had 
got the bad money from either Lupo or Morello. 
In fact, the "pusher" never even heard of either 
of the leaders except in some indirect way. Al- 
ways, however, when the money was passed over 
to the pusher by one of Cecala's deputies or re- 
mote subordinates a sinister warning was given 
not to "squeal" if caught — a warning always por- 
tentous with the threat of murder. 

To "squeal" meant fatal punishment. The 
man in the barrel is grim testimony to that fact. 

At about this time I had pretty good evidence 
that the leaders of the counterfeiting gang were 
none other than Morellu and Lupo, as I had sus- 
pected from the outset. Still, the time was not 
ripe to make arrests that would result in dead- 
sure convictions. It is true the two leaders could 
be arrested and charged with the making of these 
counterfeit notes, but where was the evidence 
connecting them with either the passing or the 
manufacture of the bills? 

Let me here recite the case of Giuseppe Bos- 
carini just to help the reader appreciate how very 
difficult it would be, at that juncture, to get 



COUNTERFEIT BILLS APPEAR 37 

Lupo and Morello involved in a way that would 
satisfy a court and jury that they were legally 
guilty of making and of passing counterfeit 
money: 

While in Pittston, Pa., I learned that a man 
in that city named Sam Locino knew Boscarini, 
a New York agent of the Black Hand Society. 
After talking with Locino for some time he told 
me that Boscarini had made several trips to 
Pittston lately, and that Boscarini was willing to 
sell counterfeit money to him. When Locino 
mentioned Boscarini's name I felt sure that the 
Pittston man was talking of one of Cecala's most 
active deputies. 

In order to see how far Locino could go with 
Boscarini, and whether Cecala's deputy would 
turn counterfeit money over to Locino, I made 
the latter write a letter in the Sicilian dialect to 
Boscarini asking the deputy of Cecala to send a 
sample of the counterfeit money in order that 
Locino might see what it was like and whether 
he thought he would be able to get rid of some 
of it in Pittston. 

When Locino had finished the letter I took it 
over to the post office, and with the Mayor of 
the city and the Chief of Police as witnesses I 



38 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

had the letter registered and addressed to Bos- 
carini. I came back on the same train that 
brought the letter to New York, and when Bos- 
carini signed for it at the registry window, this 
act of his was noted down by men of the Secret 
Service. 

The next day Boscarini went to a sub post- 
office on the Bowery and bought a special deliv- 
ery and a two-cent stamp. He placed the 
stamps upside down on a large white envelope. 
An agent of the Service saw him buy the stamps 
and place them on the envelope; also, the agent 
saw the fictitious return address which Boscarini 
put on the envelope: the agent saw this as Bos- 
carini put the letter into the slot at the sub- 
station. 

I returned to Pittston on the same train with 
the letter and notified Locino that the letter was 
addressed to him at the General Delivery. He 
got the letter and opened it in my presence. It 
contained a counterfeit two-dollar bill and a 
counterfeit five-dollar bill of the kind made by 
the Morello gang. 

Then I sent Locino to New York and gave 
him thirty-five dollars with which to buy one 
hundred dollars' worth of the counterfeit money 



COUNTERFEIT BILLS APPEAR 39 

from Boscarini. I saw to it that the genuine 
money was secretly marked for the purpose of 
"getting" it on some member of the gang when 
the raid would come and in which I contemplated 
taking Morello and Lupo together with Cecala, 
Boscarini and others. 

Locino contrived to meet Boscarini at Mul- 
berry and Prince Streets, and the two talked it 
over. An appointment was made by Boscarini 
to meet Locino again on the same day. 

One of the things I had ferreted out mean- 
while was to locate the headquarters for the dis- 
tribution of the bad money as being at No. 231 
East Ninety-seventh Street. Secret Service 
men had hired apartments across the street from 
this place, and were watching every one that en- 
tered and left the place. Their view was inter- 
fered with by great boxes of macaroni and other 
Italian groceries piled high in the windows of the 
store. My men also learned that it was here, 
behind the macaroni boxes, that secret confer- 
ences were being held between Cecala, Morello, 
Lupo and others. A conference would never 
last more than fifteen minutes. The store was 
run by Morello, Lupo and others. It was a 
wholesale store. The small Italian grocers in 



40 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

New York were compelled to make their pur- 
chases there at the peril of being wrecked by a 
bomb if they did not.- To this store went Bos- 
carini when he left Locino at Mulberry and 
Prince Streets. At the Ninety-seventh Street 
store Boscarini met Cecala and several others of 
the gang. Returning to meet Locino, Boscarini 
handed over a roll of bills to the Pittston man. 
Secret Service men saw the bills handed over. 
Locino handed the bills to me. When the bills 
were examined they were found to be counter- 
feits of the same make as those previously sent to 
Locino in the letter. 

Even then we made no arrest. It would have 
been a foolish piece of business at that time, for I 
was busy on other ends of the case pulling in 
valuable threads of evidence. After the lapse of 
a week Locino came to New York from Pittston 
and purchased more of the counterfeit money 
from Boscarini, giving in return genuine money, 
which was secretly marked. 

Finally the time arrived when the government 
had evidence which was deemed sufficient to con- 
vict most of the band. The raid was made. 
When Cecala was seized and searched there was 
found on him two of the genuine bills with the 



COUNTERFEIT BILLS APPEAR 41 

secret marks which I had placed on the bills 
given to Locino. 

Locino's testimony, the reader will see, was 
necessary in order to secure a conviction of Bos- 
carini and Cecala. By Locino's telling what 
part he had played in the game the government 
was put in position to verify the following com- 
plete chain of evidence : Locino writing the let- 
ter to Boscarini and asking for the counterfeit 
samples; Boscarini receiving the letter, and re- 
ceipting for it; Boscarini posting the answering 
letter to Locino, the letter on which the Secret 
Service man saw the stamps placed upside down 
on the long white envelope. Then, further, Lo- 
cino receiving the letter at the General Delivery, 
and his opening it in my presence and finding the 
counterfeit two- and five-dollar bills. Locino 
could testify that he got counterfeit money from 
Boscarini and had given him the genuine money 
secretly marked in return for the spurious bills, 
thus directly connecting Boscarini with the 
charge of passing spurious money. Also, Lo- 
cino could verify my testimony of secret marks 
being placed on the bills, so that when the marked 
bills were found on Cecala, Locino could identify 
them as the ones he had given to Boscarini in 



42 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

return for the counterfeit money passed by Bos- 
carini to him. Locino could thus connect Bos- 
carini and Cecala. Other evidence connecting 
Cecala with Boscarini was in my possession, but 
which I need not give here. It merely served to 
corroborate the testimony of Lucino. 

Locino was perfectly well aware what it meant 
to go on the witness stand and "squeal." He had 
heard of the man in the barrel. After some 
weeks of thinking the matter over Locino loos- 
ened up and declared that he had an ancient 
wrong to right ! He never explained to me fur- 
ther just what his grievance against the "Black 
Handers" was. He finally made up his mind to 
take the stand and tell what he knew. 

Needless to say that Boscarini was sentenced 
to fifteen years in the Federal Penitentiary at 
Atlanta, Georgia. But it is worth mentioning 
here that shortly after Boscarini received his sen- 
tence Locino was shot twice in the back of the 
head at Pittston. He survived, however, and is 
confident that he will be able to take care of him- 
self for many years to come. 

The point I want to make clear by relating this 
story of facts is as follows: 

I traced the connection of Cecala with the 



COUNTERFEIT BILLS APPEAR 43 

passing of these counterfeit bills by finding the 
genuine money with the secret marks on him. 
Nevertheless, I had not reached the leaders, 
Lupo and Morello, who were still in the back- 
ground serenely confident that they could not be 
legally implicated in the passing or the manu- 
facturing of the counterfeit bills. 

True, we could prove that Cecala and Morello 
and Lupo had met many times, and that they 
had been to the houses of one another and eaten 
at the same table. Other evidence of a like na- 
ture could be produced; but such evidence was 
not sufficient to convict the two leaders of the 
charge of either passing, having in their posses- 
sion, making or causing to be made, any of the 
counterfeit notes which were being poured into 
the great centers of population at one and the 
same time. Had I stopped with Locino's tes- 
timony, I never could have got the leaders. But 
the Secret Service never leaves the trail of the 
counterfeiter, and the way in which the long arm 
of the government reached out for the "Black 
Hand" leaders, who loomed in the shadowy dis- 
tance like the silhouettes of devils incarnate, will 
be told here for the first time. 



CHAPTER V 

THE GREENHORN'S STORY 

In the latter part of June, 1907, a young Ital- 
ian landed in New York from the southern part 
of Italy. He was an ambitious sort of clever 
chap. He not only spoke his mother tongue 
well, but he had a good command of Spanish 
and French and was posted on several of the 
dialects current in the "boot" or southern part of 
Italy. He knew very little of the English 
tongue, however. Among his various accom- 
plishments he was also a practical printer. 

The career of this young man up to the time 
of his landing at Ellis Island is significant, to 
say the least. He was a native of the little town 
of Cananzero in Calabria, one of the provinces 
of southern Italy. He had been a teacher there 
and had taught technical subjects. Later on he 
taught in private, and finally became an instruc- 
tor in government schools. From Italy he had 

44 



THE GREENHORN'S STORY 45 

gone to Brazil, where he spent seven years of 
his time. He had engaged in teaching school 
there, and he had also worked at the printing 
trade in Rio de Janeiro, the capital of Brazil. 
At one time he had been engaged by the Italian 
Consul at Rio de Janeiro to assist that official in 
legal matters. 

The young man's name was Antonio Viola 
Comito. 

In course of time he proved to be the connect- 
ing link that joined the chain of evidence identi- 
fying Lupo and Morello legally and inseparately 
with the counterfeiting gang which manufac- 
tured and distributed the counterfeit money in 
the summer of 1909. His own story in full, 
which has never been made public before, is given 
here. This story of his contains many state- 
ments which ought to interest the public, state- 
ments that were not divulged by Comito even 
at the trial where he was the pivot upon which 
turned the conviction of the most notorious and 
troublesome band of counterfeiters this country 
ever knew. As a result of his damaging evi- 
dence, the gang vowed to destroy him. He has 
changed his identity completely meanwhile, how- 
ever, and was last heard from in South America, 



46 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

where he is very prosperous. He has a good 
deal more courage than his own story, as told by 
him, would indicate. He will never be reached 
by the Black-Hand gang without several of them 
paying with their lives for his. He is confident 
of that. 

Comito's own story follows: 

"The reader will pardon me,' if, in reading this 
story of my life in New York, there are errors of 
language and periods not well expressed. 

"During the latter part of 1908 and a good 
part of 1909, 1 had occasion to know many male- 
factors who horrified me from the very start, and 
whom I gradually came to fear as I studied 
their brutal character. I refrained from de- 
nouncing these men to the police because I was 
constantly in danger of losing my life had I 
done so. 

"These men were the leaders of the notorious 
'Black-Hand' Society, which spreads terror 
among the Italians all over the United States. 
While among them I studied the badness, the 
power, the brutality and the arrogance of the 
counterfeiter and the assassin. 

"They were not a very civil lot. They were 
villains incarnate. One of their characteristic 



THE GREENHORN'S STORY 47 

traits is that one alone would not commit a crime 
because of cowardice. When a 'job' was to be 
executed it was always carried out by three or 
four directed by a 'corporal,' who was put in 
charge by the head bandit. This 'corporal' 
bossed the job, remaining all the while in the 
distance so that in case the operations of those 
committing the deed were discovered by the po- 
lice the 'corporal' would be sure to escape and 
report the circumstances to the head bandit of 
the society. The head bandit would in turn no- 
tify all the other members, when a counsel would 
be called at which steps would be taken to aid 
those apprehended by the police. 

"What puzzled me not a little was the fact that 
when it came to going to trial for an offense no 
eye-witness would ever appear in court to tell 
of the crime with which the members under ar- 
rest might be charged. Those arrested usually 
gave fictitious names, and when placed on trial 
they were always freed. These men governed 
their association by secret orders. They oper- 
ated on a vast scale and extended their crime 
even to the kidnapping of little children." 

At this point Comito enters a long apology 
to those people of Southern Italy who are good 



48 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

citizens and law-abiding. He does not refer in 
this article, he says, to the honest Sicilians, who 
labor and earn their living honestly. It is of 
the malefactors, he says, that he speaks. 

Comito then tells of entering New York and 
meeting his brother at the Battery. He relates 
his sensations at seeing the tall buildings of New 
York and the hurrying crowds in the noisy 
streets. 

After going to the home of his brother in 
Bleecker Street, Comito says: 

"During the dinner I was carefully advised 
by my uncle, an intelligent man and very cau- 
tious, having served the Italian government for 
twelve years as non-commissioned officer in the 
line infantry. He said, 'Do not acquire bad 
friendships. Be careful of traps that strangers 
may lay for you. There exists in New York a 
band of malefactors which bear the name of 
Black Hand. Every day this band commits 
crimes, assassinating persons, setting fire to 
houses, breaking in doors, exploding bombs, and 
kidnapping children/ 

"He told me also never to tell any one where 
I worked and how much I earned. He advised 
me to think only of bettering my condition and 



THE GREENHORN'S STORY 49 

that of my family, because in America, in time, 
the man with a good will can acquire a good 
position." 

Perhaps these words that follow may be of 
interest to the reader in getting an insight into 
the mentality of the newly arrived immigrant. 
Says Comito: 

"My only wish was to work and put aside 
something; to economize, and so help the condi- 
tion of my family and provide some day for my 
daughter that she might have a profession. I 
did not think of evil, and hoped from day to day 
to find occupation. I was a printer, and, though 
I did not know English, I felt confident of find- 
ing work in some Italian printing-office." 

Comito then tells of finding employment in 
the Italian printing house of M. Dassori, at No. 
178 Park Row, where he was getting along well. 
He tells of sending money to Italy to his wife 
and children. He tells of his brother here intro- 
ducing him to honest Italians of the working 
class and of how he joined the order of the Sons 
of Italy and also the Foresters of America. 
Comito then relates his rapid rise in the Forest- 
ers, mentioning also how he became Supreme 
Deputy of the Order of the Sons of Italy, be- 



50 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

sides being chosen a member for the Congress 
of Italians abroad, which was held in Rome in 
1908. He dwells on his losing employment be- 
cause of lack of work in the place where he was 
employed. After getting employment again he 
finds himself once more out of a place, about the 
beginning of September, 1908. He tells very 
frankly of taking up with a lady named Cat- 
erina and how they shared the apartment which 
he furnished as well as his means afforded. He 
and Caterina lived together, he says, "respect- 
ing one another as husband and wife." Describ- 
ing his affair with Caterina, who, by the way, 
enters in some measure into the counterfeiting 
story, Comito says : 

"I, together with Caterina, lived agreeably, 
and what was earned weekly was divided equally, 
and we did not take into account which earned 
the more or the less. We made an honest front 
with friends. I discharged my duties with the 
societies with zeal." 



CHAPTER VI 

DON PASQUALE, BLACK-HAND SKIRMISHER 

Here is where Comito gets into touch with a 
skirmisher, if I may' use the word, of the Black 
Handers. The skirmisher is the scout for Lupo 
and Morello who are, as usual, in the distance, 
their minds ablaze with the idea of getting rich 
beyond the dreams of Aladdin by a bold coun- 
terfeiting stroke. Comito is a printer out of 
work. Lupo and Morello have agents who tell 
them of such things. Comito might be the man 
to run a printing press and print the counterfeit 
bills. And so, I will turn you over to Comito. 
Listen to his own story once more : 

"On the evening of November 5, 1908, I was 
at a meeting of the Order of the Sons of Italy, 
being a duty I owed the society as Supreme Dep- 
uty to attend the meetings of the different 
lodges. As was the custom toward the end of 
the meeting I chatted with the various members 

51 



52 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

of the order, some of whom I knew by name and 
others whom I knew only by sight. 

"That same night a member by the name of 
Don Pasquale, a Sicilian, came to me, clasped 
my hand, and without further ceremony said: 
'Professor, will you take a walk with me? I 
have something to say that might interest you.' 

"When we were outside, Don Pasquale said 
to me: 

" 'I know you are seeking work and that you 
are a good printer. A friend of mine is propri- 
etor of a printing shop in Philadelphia. If you 
wish I can recommend you; but you must go to 
Philadelphia to work.' 

" 'It makes no difference to me where I 
work,' " was Comito's answer. 

Don Pasquale got Comito's address and said 
that he would arrange to have his Philadelphia 
printer friend meet Comito at the latter's home. 
Comito then explains that the title "Don" is used 
by Sicilians as a mark of respect among the 
working class, and that the word "Uncle" is em- 
ployed in addressing people advanced in years 
in the same sense. 

Comito recalls the knock on his door on the 
morning of November 6. He says : 



DON PASQUALE 53 

"I opened and saw Don Pasquale with his 
friend. I motioned them to enter and sit down. 
Don Pasquale said: 'Mr. Comito, I present to 
you my friend, Don Antonio Cecala, proprietor 
of a printing shop in Philadelphia.' 

" 'Are you a printer?' asked Cecala. 

" 'Yes,' I answered. 

" 'Well,' he continued, 'I am the proprietor of 
a shop in Philadelphia and in need of a trust- 
worthy man who can take care of my affairs 
when I am absent looking out for my business 
as an inspector of Singer Sewing Machines. 
You can come to an agreement with me and 
establish yourself with your wife in Philadelphia. 
In that way I can be sure of your honesty,' said 
Cecala to me. 

" 'But,' I replied, 'I don't think that I am go- 
ing to your printing shop to act as boss. You 
have other men that work there?' 

" 'Yes, there are other men, but they are not 
capable for the trade I have because they do not 
do this kind of work.' 

"And saying this, Cecala showed me some 
money order blanks, stamped envelopes, com- 
mercial papers and some hand bills. I replied 
that it was just such work that I could do, 



54 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

and that if the men employed by him were not 
able to do such work they were not printers. 

" 'Well, as you are a practical man at such 
work, you may remain alone in the shop and will 
assume full responsibility. Therefore, prepare 
your things and tell your Mrs. not to continue 
working. However, if she wants to work in 
Philadelphia, then she may do so. Together 
you will soon be rich.' " 

Cecala agreed to pay the rent due for the 
rooms occupied by Comito and his mistress, be- 
sides what he owed elsewhere. The weekly sal- 
ary was agreed upon, and in the event that Co- 
mito should not care to remain at the job he was 
to receive his return fare to New York. 

The reader will appreciate the humor of this 
arrangement as he gets along further in the 
story. 

" 'Then you wish that the lady come with me?' 

" 'Surely. The lady is necessary for you.' 

" 'But don't you want me to go first and find 
a house to live in?' 

" 'There is no need of that. The house is 
ready. It is my property.' 

" 'When you say that you will provide for 
everything, I am ready to leave to-morrow.' 



DON PASQUALE 55 

"In the evening Caterina came home from 
work. I told her what had happened. She did 
not care to leave her work, adding that we were 
without means and could not afford to undertake 
the trip. I assured her, however, that all ex- 
penses would be paid, and she finally consented 
to come along. We prepared the household fur- 
nishings for shipment, Cecala insisting that we 
take all the stuff with us." 

Comito then tells of being taken to a photo- 
material store. Cecala bought a camera, some 
plates, bath platters, chemicals, a tripod, paper, 
and a case. Comito was induced to go to the 
printing house, where he had been formerly em- 
ployed, and make a "dicker" for the purchase of 
a printing press. The press was secured and 
everything was made ready for the trip to Phil- 
adelphia. Then Cecala called and introduced a 
certain "Don Turi," otherwise Cina, as his god- 
father. "He is a rich proprietor in Philadel- 
phia," said Cecala. "Do not mind his ordinary 
clothes; he is a man of gentle manners." Co- 
mito's own description of the rough looking Cina 
adds a streak of humor to the situation. As to 
"gentle manners" Cina almost maimed Comito 
when he shook hands with him. Comito was 



56 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

also introduced to a fellow by the name of Syl- 
vester. 

It was two o'clock in the afternoon on the 
same day that the whole pack of them — Cecala, 
Cina, Don Pasquale and Sylvester — rushed into 
the little apartment of Comito, and, as he says, 
"without any talking, began to label the furni- 
ture." This move was made after Cecala had 
paid the rent that morning. 

Comito had not put any address on his stuff 
because Cecala had assured him that all the fur- 
niture would be put on a wagon, and that the 
wagon and all would go under his name to Phil- 
adelphia. Comito observed a bundle labeled: 
"A. Cina, Highland, New York." 

Turning to Cecala, he said: "Don't we go to 
Philadelphia?" 

"A — ha, ha, ha — a, ha, a, ha, ha, ha, ha," leered 
Cecala. "This is the place the boat stops and 
then we go twenty minutes by foot. Have no 
fear ; we will go by carriage." 

"Do we not go by rail?" 

"No," grunted Cecala. "It costs too much, 
and we cannot load all your goods on the 
train." 

Upon inquiring what time Cecala expected to 



DON PASQUALE 57 

arrive at Philadelphia, Comito was informed 
about eight o'clock, and that it would be all the 
better to arrive after dark because "no one will 
see what we are doing, and we will give an ac- 
counting to no one." Cecala also assured Co- 
mito that there would be no delay once they got 
off the boat, but that they would hurry to Ce- 
cala's house where "we will eat and drink wine 
and warm ourselves." 

In this manner Comito's fears were lulled to 
sleep by the promises of future prosperity that 
were held out to him. There would never be 
any more worry or struggle for gain as far as 
Comito was concerned, according to the assur- 
ances of Cecala and the others. Life would flow 
along like a pleasant dream with no worries of 
any kind! 

"It was about 4 :30 P. M. of that same day, 
November 11, 1908, when I and Caterina, to- 
gether with Cecala, Cina, Don Pasquale and Syl- 
vester, went on board the boat," continues Co- 
mito. "I was fully convinced that we were go- 
ing to Philadelphia. I was quite happy think- 
ing that by working honestly I would prosper. 
When we were about two hours out from the 
pier Cecala came to me and said: 



58 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

" 'Mr. Comito, we are about to make a bad 
showing/ 

" 'Why?' I asked. 

" 'Because I have not enough money to pay 
the fares of all of us/ 

" 'Why pay for all?' 

" 'Because they are my friends, and my god- 
father. Then, too, you saw how they worked.' 

" 'But they could have remained in New 
York.' 

" 'No. They will help put up the press, etc. 

" 'This is just a circumstance,' explained Ce- 
cala. 'I imagined that Cina had money to spare, 
but he has forgotten his pocketbook. We are 
short five dollars.' 

"Not knowing what to do about it, I remained 
silent. After a while Cecala turned to Caterina 
and inquired: 'Mrs., have you any money with 
you?' 

" 'I have just five dollars,' Caterina replied 
innocently. 

" 'Well, give it to me because I need it. I will 
give it back to-morrow, as soon as I get to the 
house,' suggested the bandit. 

"Caterina stepped aside and produced a five- 



DON PASQUALE 59 

dollar bill from her stocking where she had hid- 
den it for an emergency. 

"I took Caterina aside and asked her why she 
had given the money to Cecala. She said it 
would be all right, that she would get it back 
to-morrow. I did not talk any more. I took a 
rest on a lounge, until about nine o'clock, when 
I heard the boat's whistle. It was the signal of 
our approaching a dock. I jumped up, thinking 
I was at Philadelphia, and woke Caterina. I 
was surprised when Cecala informed me that 
Philadelphia was a little farther on, and that 
we would get off at the next stop. Making fur- 
ther inquiries as to the location of Philadelphia, 
I was informed in a very brutal manner by Cina 
that he did not know when the boat would arrive, 
but he guessed about one o'clock. Right then 
and there it dawned on me that I was not dealing 
with honest people, but with a dangerous pack 
who were probably trying to get me into a trap. 

"When Caterina heard that we would not ar- 
rive until one A. M., she spoke cross to me and 
said that if any harm came to her I was respon- 
sible. I consoled her as well as I could and re- 
sumed my rest on the lounge. 



60 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

"It was about half -past twelve that night when 
a long, resounding toot that echoed in the moun- 
tains announced our arrival at a stopping place. 
When the deck hand announced the name of the 
place, which did not sound very much like Phil- 
adelphia, I asked Cecala whether we should go 
ashore here. 

"He said yes. 

"It was a freezing cold night. There was 
snow on the ground. Caterina and I were 
chilled to the bone and very nervous. 

" 'We will all stop at my godfather's for the 
night, and, if necessary, for a day or so until we 
are rested,' announced Cecala. 'From there we 
will continue our trip to Philadelphia, which is 
one station beyond this place. We will do the 
rest of the journey by wagon. 

" 'This is Highland, 1 New York,' said Cecala, 
when I inquired the name of the place. 

"After a short wait in the dark near the dock 
we heard a wagon rushing up at top speed. It 
was driven by a man whom Cecala introduced 
me to as another godfather of his who was named 
Vincenzio Giglio. Cina and Giglio are brothers- 

i Highland is about seven miles from Ardonia, N*ew York, where 
the reader will remember I had discovered Lupo was in hiding 
after he ran away from his creditors. 



DON PASQUALE 61 

in-law and own the place where I was to stop that 
night, Cecala told me. 

"We arrived at Cina's house and found a table 
prepared for dinner. While Cina invited Cate- 
rina and me to sit down, the wives of Cina and 
Giglio brought on stuffed chickens, young goats 
meat, baked potatoes, wine. The dessert was of 
cheese, apples and pears, raised, Cina said, on 
the premises. 

"My furniture was placed in a house near 
that of Cina and I was left there to live with 
Caterina on scanty fare and without money un- 
til, as Cecala told me, the printing shop would 
be in readiness. I was told to have my mail di- 
rected at the box in Highland, New York, where 
Cina had his mail sent. There were five little 
children playing about in the Cina house. I 
heard Cecala tell Cina to make out a list of food- 
stuffs needed saying that he would see Ignazio 
(Lupo) and have him ship it up to the farm. 

"Cecala then took his departure to look after 
his business as a 'Singer Sewing Machine In- 
spector.' " 

For three days after arriving at Cina's, Co- 
mito says, he and Caterina ate at Cina's table. 
They were waiting for the supplies to arrive 



62 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

from Lupo, and which Comito and Caterina 
were to eat at their own table. 'Concerning this 
time Comito says: 

"In the three following days, Caterina and 
I ate at Cina's table while we were waiting for 
supplies. The conversation was about nothing 
but homicides, assassinations, and robberies. At 
times I thought my hair would stand on end, 
but I tried my best to appear unconcerned even 
when Caterina glanced at me in dismay. 

"On a certain cold and rainy day, I shall never 
forget, while we were all huddled around the 
stove, Cina began to spin his yarns and boasted, 
among other exploits, that he had been a trusted 
man of the notorious bandit Varsalona. In this 
way Cina had became implicated in the murder 
of a school teacher in his native town, Bevona, 
in the province of Girgenta, Sicily, and had been 
obliged to flee the country and make his way to 
America. Cina also remarked that he was mar- 
ried in Tampa, Florida, where he had worked 
for seven years as a cigar maker. He married 
the sister of his intimate friend Giglio. 

"As we were about to go to bed that night I 
told Caterina that we had better plan to get 
back to New York somehow. There was no 



DON PASQUALE 63 

longer any doubt in my mind but that we were 
in the hands of confirmed criminals. 

" 'How about the fare?' answered Caterina. 
'I have no money at present. If you want 
money ask godfather Cina.' 

"I did not sleep a wink that night. I was 
blaming myself for having induced Caterina to 
come along. In the morning I hurried over to 
talk to Cecala to make arrangements for our re- 
turn to New York, but to my surprise Giglio 
informed me that Cecala and Don Pasquale had 
gone the night before to New York. 

"I complained to Giglio of the manner in 
which Cecala had left me behind with Caterina 
without money or return fare to New York. 

"With apparent good grace Giglio replied 
that I should have a little patience and wait un- 
til Cecala returned. 

" 'Think of eating and drinking. Don't 
worry. Enjoy yourself,' he said with a grin. 

"The manner of Giglio's talk quieted me a lit- 
tle and calmed my nerves ; he also said that when 
it was not raining I could go about the farm to 
see what was cultivated and could roam around 
and forget about returning to New York. 

"Caterina and I had to worry along in that 



64 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

godforsaken place until December 7, 1908, when 
I was informed that we would be moved to the 
printing shop. A wagon was coming for our 
furniture at three o'clock in the morning." 



CHAPTER VII 

THE PLANT OF THE COUNTERFEITERS 

"And a truck did come about three A. M., 
December 8, 1908. Along with us came Giglio 
and another man named Bernardo, a man with 
a ruddy complexion and a large mouth. We 
crossed through the village and after about two 
and a half hours' ride arrived in front of an old, 
deserted stone house situated in the woods, off 
the road about twenty paces. Bernardo said 
laughingly: 

11 'Here is the printing shop. Don't you like 
it?' 

" 'No,' I replied. 

" 'Tell that to Cecala when he comes,' said 
Cina. 

" 'But this is no place for a printing shop,' I 
continued, Caterina watching me with glaring 
eyes. 

" 'Come, don't lose time,' roared Cina. 'Un- 

65 



66 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

load the stuff before some one comes along and 
we are seen.' 

" 'I will go back with Caterina.' 

" * Where to?' inquired Cina. 

" 'To the house where I was ; then to New 
York.' 

" 'The house where you were is rented to a 
party coming from 'New York. You cannot 
stay in my house because there are too many 
children there. When Cecala comes you can 
speak to him.' 

" 'But I don't want to stay alone here in the 
woods.' 

" 'Have no fear. My brother-in-law and Ber- 
nardo will stay with you. And then, of whom 
are you afraid? No one passes on this road ex- 
cept at 10 A. M., when the letter carrier goes 

by-' 

"By the time this conversation ended my furni- 
ture was all inside the door. Cina told Giglio 
to get the stove ready for it was very cold. Cina 
hinted that he was going away soon. Hearing 
Cina say this, I told him I wanted to return to 
the village. 

" 'You are crazy,' he said. 'Have you money 
to pay me for returning your goods? Besides, 



THE PLANT 67 

I am not going to the village. I am going six 
miles in the other direction to buy hay for the 
horses. Cecala may be back to-morrow. Talk 
to him. My brother will bring you stuff to eat. 
So, why worry?' 

"Later, I overheard Cina whisper to Giglio: 

" 'I got close to Caterina, who was in the door- 
step almost crying, and tried to comfort her., say- 
ing that when we were left alone we would get 
away. 

" 'Where is the fare?' Caterina is supposed to 
have asked him. 

"Finally Cina departed. Giglio and Bernardo 
remained and began to arrange the furniture as 
best they could. 

"Calmed of my anger, I went into the house 
and looked around. I found a large room that 
served as a kitchen and a back room for a store- 
room on the ground floor. Up the stairway and 
on the second floor I found three small rooms 
and a large room. Another flight of steps led 
to a garret. In the large room on the second 
floor I saw the press. It had been brought 
there while I was remaining at the farmhouse 
near Cina's. It was the same press I had dick- 
ered for. There was a dilapidated bed in one 



68 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

of the three small rooms on this floor, which 
Giglio had fixed up the best he could under the 
circumstances. As I was looking around the 
place I was convinced that I had been led into 
a trap of some kind, but it never entered my 
head that I had been brought up there for the 
purpose of printing counterfeit money! I 
thought that perhaps they wanted me for print- 
ing obscene literature, such as is prohibited by 
law, but on looking closer I did not discover any 
type, and my mind began to get busy trying to 
figure out what a press without type and acces- 
sories could be intended for placed in a desolate 
house in the backwoods. 

"It must have been about eleven o'clock that 
morning when I saw a short-set man, possibly 
twenty-five or thirty years old, driving up. He 
was a man of dark complexion with a large 
moustache, dressed like a farmer with big shoes 
and red handkerchief around his neck, wearing 
a cap *A la Sicilian.' He proved to be Cina's 
brother Peppino. He entered the house and 
said that he was bringing the supplies. He set 
down a bag of 100 pounds of potatoes, about 
forty pounds of flour to make bread, a bottle of 
olive oil, a case of maccaroni, olives, smoked fish, 



THE PLANT 69 

salt, kerosene, onions and a small form of cheese, 
as well as twenty small cans containing tomato 
sauce. Unloading this stuff without ever utter- 
ing a word, the short-set fellow waved his hand 
at Giglio and Bernardo as he started on his way. 
Before leaving the house, though, he uttered the 
words 'Be careful.' 

"Giglio now ordered Caterina to cook, saying 
that he was hungry. Caterina, realizing that 
she had to deal with bad people, prepared a meal. 
Four days went by and on the fifth Giglio and 
Bernardo left, saying that they were going to 
get something to eat as the provisions brought 
by Peppino could not last much longer. We 
were then living on baked potatoes and plain 
bread. 

"I remained alone with Caterina in that iso- 
lated house for two days without seeing any one. 
It was snowing. I could not go out. Those 
days passed like so many years. Caterina was 
taken ill with a fever. I almost despaired. 
Where could I go for help ? I knew no one and 
there was no house nearby. During those awful 
days suicide was continually in my mind. Then 
again the thought would come to me — why should 
you? What for? Why abandon my wife, my 



70 t THE BARREL MYSTERY 

parents, my relatives? No, I reflected, better 
fight it out to the end and see what those bandits 
have up their sleeve. 

"On the morning of December 15, 1908, it was 
snowing large flakes and it was bitter cold. 
There came a knock on the door. Cecala and 
Cina entered. Both of them laughed boister- 
ously when they saw me. 

"This angered me, and I declared that I was 
not to be treated any longer as if I were a child. 

" 'Very well,' said Cecala. 'If you were a 
child you would never do for us. We are deal- 
ing with you because we know that you are a 
serious and intelligent fellow, otherwise . . . 
well, don't shout when you talk to us. You must 
calm yourself because you are dealing with gen- 
tlemen and not with villains.' 

" 'I know that ; but your actions are not those 
of gentlemen.' 

" 'When you know more then you will not talk 
so much,' said Cecala in a low tone. 

" Cater ina had heard voices and was coming 
downstairs : 

" 'Mr. Cecala,' she said, 'it is necessary that 
I go to New York because I am ill and fever- 
ish. Give me the fare and I will go.' 



THE PLANT 71 

" 'In this weather?' asked Cecala. 

" 'Yes.' 

" 'When?' 

" 'To-day.' 

" 'Go away; I have no money.' 

" 'You have no money? Give me back the five 
dollars that I gave you on the boat.' 

" 'I have only two dollars, which I need very 
much.' 

" 'You do not consider me sick?' 

" 'Surely I do. So much that we have brought 
a chicken to cook.' 

" 'I don't cook because I am not well, and I 
am cold,' promptly assured Caterina. 

" 'Madame,' continued Cecala with mock cour- 
tesy, 'be happy in the thought that in a month 
from now we will all be rich. All these queer 
ideas will pass from your mind then. Go ahead 
and cook. Here is the stuff. From to-morrow 
on you will not be alone. You will have com- 
pany, and you will be happy.' 

"Cecala now turned abruptly to me saying in 
a sinister tone of voice : 'Don Antonio, come up- 
stairs. I have news for you.' 

"We entered the large room where the press 
was standing. Cecala took a package from his 



72 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

coat pocket. 'Here is the work that we must 
execute. We must print counterfeit money!' 
His rat-like eyes froze me to the spot. 'Here 
are the plates. Compare them with the original. 
Without any one knowing it we will soon be 
rich. The money that is to be counterfeited is 
the Canadian five-dollar note. Already I have 
several requests, and if we can do perfect work 
we will print a million. I have brought with me 
one hundred thousand sheets of paper of four 
qualities and different sizes so that we could 
choose the best grade from the lot. The Cana- 
dian is not hard to counterfeit because there is 
no silk in it like in the American money. I am 
sure that we will succeed. As to buying the 
inks, have no fear. In fact, I have already 
bought the inks, and will consult with you in 
choosing the right kind for this work. No one 
will come here except our own people. It is 
just as well that Caterina remain here. If a 
stranger should pass and see the lady he would 
imagine that there is a family living in the house 
and that would not rouse suspicion. So the lady 
had better stay.' 

"I drew a deep breath. I saw the trap closing 
around me. As calmly as I could I replied: 



THE PLANT 73 

" 'This is not my work. I do not even know 
how to prepare the press.' 

" 'Do not begin to find excuses/ barked Cecala. 
'This work must be done. You will leave here 
when I tell you that there is no more need of 
you. Not before.' 

" 'But this is very difficult work. It is out of 
my line,' I ventured. 

" 'No matter. If you are a printer you know 
how to do it. I will assist you. Look at these 
plates. See whether they are all well made.' 

"I looked at the plates and said I could not 
distinguish which was which. I saw five pieces 
of zinc engraved on either side of which was 
the 'Bank of Montreal — Canada. Five-dollar 
note.' The pieces were separate, according to 
the colors ; that is, two large plates for the green 
side, and one black; on the face was a large 'V 
printed in the center, and on the light green the 
seal in a violet color. The serial numbers were 
in red. 

"I explained that there were several things re- 
quired before any printing could be done. 

"Cecala now grabbed me by the shoulders and 
fairly hissed these words at me : 

" 'Don Antonio, you are the person who must 



74 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

execute this work under my direction and the 
guidance of some one else that you will know in 
the future. Your life would be lost if you 
should reveal our secret to any one. We are 
twenty men banded together in this affair, and 
we will respect you as one of us. Caterina will 
be respected as well, and when we are done we 
will give her a sum of money to go to Italy ; but 
you must remain with our society for life. We 
will provide for you and better your condition, 
and that of your family, without ever revealing 
to your parents the secret. If you want to write 
to your brother in New York and your aunt be 
careful to say that you are working for a priest 
in Philadelphia telling them that the address is 
a village near Philadelphia. When you wish to 
come to New York I must know about it. I 
will send your fare and tell you where to find 
me so that I can give you the return fare. Cour- 
ageous persons will help you and guard you in 
case there should be some spy on the trail. No 
one will come to this place, because the land 
about the house is our property, and it would be 
hard for detectives to discover us without some 
one taking them here. This place is not sus- 



THE PLANT 75 

pected. The money printed here is to be 
changed in Canada. No one can suppose that 
it is printed in this little village. Without offer- 
ing any excuses you must do this work. Know- 
ing that you are a serious man I talk to you with 
frankness. During the time that you remain 
here you will lack nothing to eat, but you must 
bear in mind that we are not big capitalists yet, 
and until we make some money you must suffer 
a little.' 

"The voice of the 'Black-Hand' Society had 
spoken. I was the unwilling tool. To refuse 
meant death. So I resolved to play my part 
as well as I could and merely answered that I 
would do what they asked but not to expect per- 
fect work as I was not a practical plate printer, 
and had never seen counterfeit money before nor 
printed it. 

"Caterina now called us downstairs to eat. At 
table Cina told Caterina to abandon the idea of 
returning to New York. He told her that she 
was to remain and cook for the people that would 
come, that she would be paid for her work. 
Caterina made no answer to this. 

"Afterwards I went upstairs with Cina and 



76 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

Cecala and began to set up the press in the large 
room near a window that faced the road, Cecala 
remarking that there was need of light. 

"Then, after a sinister pause, Cecala began to 
tackle me again with a speech: 

" 'Don Antonio, I also have American two- 
dollar plates, but they need retouching. Some 
of the lines of the black are not precise. We 
will print twenty thousand dollars of the Cana- 
dian money in five-dollar notes, and then fifty 
thousand of these two-dollar United States 
notes.' Saying this Cecala showed me the 
plates, which he took from his coat pocket. He 
made me examine them and I observed that they 
were of check letter A, plate number 1111. He 
wrapped them up in a cloth and put them in 
his coat pocket, saying that he would return 
them when he brought the inks. The plates for 
the two-dollar bills were in three pieces; that is, 
the green side, the face or black side, and the 
seal and counter of dark blue. 

"That night Cina and Cecala slept in the house. 
In the morning they went off at a very early 
hour leaving me alone and promising to return 
in a few days. On the morning of December 
20th, 1908, Cecala and Giglio returned in com- 



THE PLANT 77 

pany with another man, a Sicilian, and dressed 
like one. The stranger took from a bag the 
wood blocks that were needed for the plates 
which Cecala had had retouched. The stranger 
was presented to me as Uncle Vincent. Cecala 
then told Caterina to prepare a meal as Uncle 
had traveled all night and was cold and hungry. 
"We went upstairs to mount the plates on the 
blocks. Cecala put them in the chase, and, like 
an experienced man, made the press ready for 
the green side of the counterfeit money. Cecala 
also prepared the green ink and then made me 
print a proof to see whether the work was cor- 
rect. We worked that day in making proofs be- 
cause we could not get the right shade of green. 
Finally, we mixed in a little yellow and hit the 
right shade of green for the Canadian note. It 
was necessary, however, to let the ink dry in 
order to see whether the shade was exactly right. 
That day the whole conversation was of getting 
rich. Millions were to come to each of us. 
They went so far as to figure out just what 
would be the share of each at the end of the 
month, selling the stuff at 35 cents on the dollar. 
All were as happy as lords. All except Caterina 
and I. 



78 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

"At about 4 P. M. Cecala took four of the 
five-dollar note proofs, those which were most 
like the genuine, and left for New York together 
with Cina saying that he had to show them to 
persons more competent. This left Giglio and 
Uncle Vincent with me. 

"On December 23, Cina came to the house 
bringing a wagon load of coal and after unload- 
ing it told me that he received a letter from New 
York calling for other proofs but darker in 
shade. I mixed up some more ink, and after 
running off the proofs I handed them to Cina, 
who took them away with him. After about 
eight days I had received no notice of printing 
or of the proofs when on January 2, 1909, Cecala 
and Cina suddenly returned and ordered that the 
work proceed. The notes were to be printed in 
the last shade of ink that Cecala had prepared. 
No more proofs were to be sent to New York, 
Cecala said, because it was very dangerous. 
One of the gang might be picked up and the 
notes found on him. They told me to go by the 
genuine note for shade and that when I struck 
off a proof to show it to Uncle Vincent, who 
was very proficient. 

"They told me to hurry and to work fast. 



THE PLANT 79 

They needed the two-dollar notes badly because 
Cecala had received an order from a Brooklyn 
banker for $50,000 counterfeit money. After 
they were through talking and gossiping I turned 
to Cecala and said : 

" 'Mr. Cecala, on the fifth instant I must go 
to New York to attend a meeting of the Grand 
Court of the Foresters of America, for the an- 
nual installation of officers takes place on that 
night. I must necessarily attend because I am 
an officer and you will, of course, provide my; 
fare.' 

" 'What do you care for the society?' sneered 
Cecala. 'We are in so much need of you, and 
you are finding new excuses. Leave these things 
go and work.' 

" 'I must attend.' 

" 'Well, I will send your fare from New York. 
In case I do not come back, see me at 92 East 
Fourth Street, fourth floor.' 

"While this conversation was taking place 
Giglio and Uncle Vincent had picked out the 
paper stock of which four thousand sheets were 
counted out. Cecala, assisted by me, made the 
press ready. Experiments were made to see if 
the impression was right. After Cecala had got 



80 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

everything in readiness he told Uncle Vincent to 
ink the press from time to time as there was no 
fountain on it. I fed the press by putting the 
sheets in and taking them out as they were 
printed. Giglio would take the printed sheets 
and spread them out in the garret to dry. 

"At 2 P. M., on January 4th, 1909, the green 
impressions were completed on the Canadian 
notes. Not seeing any one appear with the fare 
to New York I gave my watch to Giglio and 
begged him to go to his brother-in-law and sell 
it. Returning the next morning Giglio handed 
me one dollar and a half, and said that I was 
to go on the 2 P. M. train. His brother-in-law, 
Cina, would come with the horse and carriage 
and accompany me to the station. 

"About noon Cina came. Caterina said she did 
not want to be left alone with two strange men, 
and asked to be taken to Cina's family until I 
returned. This was agreed to and Cina left her 
at his house and took me to the Poughkeepsie 
station. I arrived in New York at 5 P. M. and 
met Cecala at the station; he feigned surprise at 
seeing me. He excused himself for not sending 
me the fare and explained that he had no money. 

"Cecala conducted me to Thirty-ninth Street 



THE PLANT 81 

and First Avenue where he introduced me to a 
certain Giovanni Pecoraro, a wine merchant. 
He invited me to eat some salame cheese and 
fruit. We drank some wine, and then Pecoraro 
told me to return to this store and get two bot- 
tles of liquor, which I was to take to Highland 
on my way back to the plant. 

"Coming out of the store, Cecala led me to a 
house in the same street near Avenue A where 
there were six men in a room playing cards. 
Cecala called one of them aside — a young man 
about thirty, and requested him to give five 
dollars to me. This young man, whom Cecala 
called Salvatore, responded readily and gave me 
the money as I was leaving. Cecala now ac- 
companied me to the meeting room of the For- 
esters of America. He told me that at 11 
P. M. he would call for me and accompany me 
to the station, and that I was not to stop over 
night nor see any of my relatives. 

"After the meeting I found Cecala and Pe- 
coraro waiting outside for me. They made me 
get on a car and go to Pecoraro's store, where 
I was given three bottles of liquor and some 
salame wrapped in one package. They accom- 
panied me to Hoboken where, at 3 A. M. on 



82 L THE BARREL MYSTERY 

January 6, 1909, I boarded the train for High- 
land. Arriving there, I found Cina's brother, 
Peppino, waiting with a carriage. I got into the 
vehicle and he brought me to the stone house, 
that is, the counterfeiting plant. The reader will 
observe that I was shadowed by the 'Black 
Handers* every step of the way. It would have 
been impossible for me to make a break-away 
without courting death. During the month of 
January, 1909, the work of counterfeiting at the 
farmhouse proceeded without interruption. 
From time to time Cina would show up with po- 
tatoes and flour. He would examine the work, 
help for an hour or so spreading the money on 
the floor to dry, and then return to his farm." 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE COW THAT CAUSED A DOUBLE MURDER 

"One day while we were at work on the coun- 
terfeit money, Uncle Vincent told me that he had 
been a cattle raiser in his home town. He was 
out on a farm where he saw a yoke of oxen, 
which he wanted to purchase. One of the men 
who owned the oxen, while arguing about the 
price, said something offensive to Uncle. With- 
out saying a word Uncle aimed his rifle and shot 
the man in the chest, killing him instantly. The 
other man ran away. He was overtaken by a 
rifle shot and knocked dead about fifty paces 
away from the first man. 

"With a double murder on his conscience Un- 
cle Vincent cast about for a getaway. As he was 
short of money he searched the first man that 
he had murdered and took from him two hun- 
dred and fifty lire. Returning to town Uncle 
wrote a long letter to his family notifying them 

83 



84 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

of what happened and took a train for Palermo. 
There he contracted with a sail-boat man who 
landed him at Tunis in Africa. There he found 
means to get his fare and went to Tokio, Japan. 
In Tokio he could not find work, was forced to 
steal in order to live, and when he had accumu- 
lated some money he went to Liverpool. He 
lived in Liverpool about a year where he existed 
by theft the same as in Japan. In March, 1902, 
he left Liverpool for New Orleans. When in 
America, he said, he did not lose heart because 
he knew many friends, and they had to help him, 
he said. And he uttered these words with the 
saturnine confidence of the established 'Black 
Hander.' " 



CHAPTER IX 



THE SOCIETY 



" 'How could you manage in so many different 
places without knowing the language?' I in- 
quired, not quite knowing the ramifications of 
the Mafia. 

" 'I found Italians everywhere, and would get 
directions from them until I found some friends.' 
He spoke the last work significantly. 

" 'Did you understand English then?' 

" 'Did not even dream of it.' 

" 'Have you worked while you have been in 
America?' 

" 'Never,' grinned Uncle Vincent. 'Neither 
do I expect to work. If I knew the man who 
invented work, and met him, I would kill him.' 

" 'What do you do to live?' 

" 'You are too young to know certain things,* 
he explained with a veiled glance. 'When you 
have become well interested in the affairs of our 

85 



86 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

society you will know how to live without work.' 

" 'Then you belong to some society which gives 
you money?' I inquired, feigning stupidity. 

" 'Yes, but not like your societies. When you 
leave your societies and join ours you will feel 
better.' 

" 'And what is the price of initiation?' 

" 'Nothing.' 

* 'How will I be admitted then?' 

" 'We must try you with a courageous deed re- 
quiring secrecy.' 

" 'And what is this society of yours called?' I 
asked. 

" 'It has no name.' 

" 'Is it a mutual aid society?' 

" 'No.' 

" 'Where are its headquarters?' 

" 'In all parts of the world.' 

" 'In Italy?' 

" 'Yes, in Italy/ 

" 'Then it must be the Masons?' 

" 'What, the Masons? Pooh-pooh! my friend. 
Ours is a society that never ends and is bigger 
than the Masons.' 

" 'And when will you allow me to enter?' 

" 'I must school you first,' he grumbled, eyeing 



THE SOCIETY 87 

me suspiciously. 'And when you become known 
to the heads, and are respected, then we will 
christen you.' 

" 'You will christen me?' I exclaimed. 

" 'Yes/ 

" 'How is that ? I have already been baptized 
in the Roman Catholic religion, and now you 
would baptize me again?' 

" 'Certainly!' he grinned. 'But it is not a 
matter of religion. You are christened into the 
society. We give you a title that you will bear 
in secret, a title that will make you obeyed and 
respected in all parts of the world.' 

" 'I am curious to attend a meeting of your 
society.' 

" 'In time you will attend; but first, I would 
have to ask the superiors.' 

"At this moment I was called by Caterina and 
the discussion ended. I had absorbed enough to 
surmise about the vast, hidden power of the 
'Black-Hand' menace reaching as it does with 
arms steeped in gore all around the globe." 



CHAPTER X 

MEETING THE ARCH-BANDIT 

"At the end of January the Canadian five- 
dollar notes were completed and cut the size 
of the genuine. After being counted they 
amounted to seventeen thousand five hundred 
and forty dollars. They were put in an empty 
macaroni box and was nailed up and put away 
for Cecala, who was to have them exchanged 
for good money to various people whom he knew. 

"On February 1st, 1909, not having received 
any word from New York, Giglio left and went 
to Cina's house to inquire the cause of the long 
silence. Next day Giglio returned, accompanied 
by Cecala and Cina, and fixed the press to print 
the two-dollar notes, check letter A, and plate 
number 1111. Having prepared the press 
Cecala and I fixed some green ink, but after sev- 
eral attempts to imitate the genuine Cecala de- 

88 



MEETING THE ARCH-BANDIT 89 

cided we could not do it. That night Cecala 
gave me five dollars and told me that on Feb- 
ruary 4 I was to go to New York. I was to 
go to his house and there talk with a party who 
was capable of preparing the ink. Then ad- 
monishing me not to leave until Cina called for 
me with a carriage, Cecala left with Cina and 
Giglio. 

"On February 4, about eight in the morning, 
Cina came to the stone house with Bernardo, the 
former to accompany me to the station and the 
latter to remain with Uncle Vincent and Ca- 
terina. I arrived in New York at noontime and 
went directly to Cecala's home at No. 92 East 
Fourth Street, where I found his wife who gave 
me a piece of paper after making sure of my 
identity. 

' 'My husband is waiting at the address writ- 
ten on the piece of paper,' she said. 'Ask for 
him in the bank on the ground floor.' 

"The piece of paper contained this address: 
'630 East One Hundred and Thirty-Eighth 
Street.' 

"Arriving at One Hundred and Thirty-Eighth 
Street I found the house I was seeking and 
asked for Cecala. A well-dressed man told me 



90 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

that Cecala would not return until two o'clock. 
It was then half after one and the man told me 
to return in a half hour. In the meantime I 
walked over toward the L station thinking I 
might meet Cecala. I returned to the address 
written on the paper after walking around for 
about forty minutes without seeing Cecala. I 
was told to take a seat and the well-dressed man 
telephoned to Cecala, who arrived in a few min- 
utes and invited me upstairs with him. I went 
up to a room on the second floor and there met 
two men. 

"Cecala introduced me to one of the men who 
was tall, wrapped up in a shawl of brown color, 
of oval face and high forehead. He had dark 
eyes, an aquiline nose, dark hair, and dark mus- 
tache. He appeared to be about forty years 
old. As he was walking about the room I no- 
ticed particularly that this man had one arm 
outside the shawl and the other hidden beneath 
the wrap. Could he be hiding a weapon? The 
other man remained seated in a chair. He was 
about thirty or thirty-five years old, of medium 
build with dark curly hair, sallow complexion. 
His nose was a little flattened, he had a brown 
mustache, brown eyes, and wore a cap 'A la 



MEETING THE ARCH-BANDIT 91 

Sicilian.' Cecala introduced the first man as 
Mr. Morello and the second as 'Michele, the 
Calabrian.' 

"Morello bade me make myself comfortable. 
Then he gave me a piercing glance and said 
slowly: 

" 'How is it, professor, that you cannot suc- 
ceed in reaching a color like the green on the 
two-dollar notes?' 

" 'I told Mr. Cecala from the beginning that 
this was not in my line of work,' I replied. 

" 'How is it that a printer like you don't know 
how to mix inks?' 

" 'I am experienced in composing and printing 
books, not in printing money.' 

"'Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!' ejaculated the bandit 
comprehendingly. 'So, if you do not know how 
to mix the ink the bills cannot be printed?' 

" 'Certainly not.' 

" 'Well, we will find a man who knows how to 
prepare the inks, and I advise you to do the 
printing carefully so that the money can be 
easily exchanged. Save the Canadian notes be- 
cause they are expensive to exchange. And just 
now we are without money and cannot incur ex- 
tra expenses.' 



02 ,THE BARREL MYSTERY 

" 'I would rather leave this work and return 
to New York,' I ventured. 

" 'You are crazy,' yelled Cecala, who was still 
present. 'Now that we are at it we must com- 
plete it. If things go right, we will all be rich; 
but don't think of betraying us because your life 
would be lost if you did. You must never tell 
any one what you are doing at the peril of losing 
your life. If you get into danger because of 
the secret we will save you.' 

"Morello eyed me sarcastically. He shot a 
menacing side-glance at me and uttered this 
Warning in a low voice: 'Suppose you are ar- 
rested. Well, you must never tell that you know 
us, because we, remaining on the outside, can 
help you at the cost of losing our property. I 
advise you to be faithful to us. Remember, you 
are dealing with gentlemen.' 

" 'I understand that,' I said, feigning respect, 
'but I am in great danger alone in the woods 
with the woman, and if I am taken by surprise 
I am ruined.' 

" 'How? Are you alone? Where is Uncle 
Vincent? Is he not there?' 

" 'Yes.' 

" 'He alone is enough to keep any one away 



MEETING THE ARCH-BANDIT 93 

from the house. Soon there will be other peo- 
ple to help you, and keep you company, and 
bring arms and ammunition. The first stranger 
that is suspected will be killed and buried in 
the woods.' 

"Morello spoke this with a saturnine air of un- 
concern as if he had been discussing a smoke or 
a glass of wine. To this man murder was merely 
an incident to his trade. 

"The arch-bandit now turned to Cecala, say- 
ing: 

" 'It would be well to ask Milone (Antonio 
B.), and see if he is able to make the green tint.' 
Milone is the man who made the plates. 

" 'Who cares to go to Two Hundred and 
Thirty-Ninth Street, in the Bronx, at this hour?' 
replied Cecala in disgusted protest. 'It can be 
done to-morrow.' 

" 'No. It is better that we send Nick (Syl- 
vester) to-night,' said Morello with an air of 
finality that booked no dispute. 

" 'Do what you think, Piddu. 1 Suppose we 
arrange to send Don Antonio?' 

" 'Do not let him leave us, though.' 

i Piddu is the Sicilian diminutive for Giuseppe, the Christian 
name of Morello. 



94 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

" 'I know, and if he has to leave, I will accom- 
pany him,' concluded Cecala almost in a whis- 
per. 

"Cecala now invited me out with him, asked 
me where did I want to sleep, and when I told 
him at my aunt's, he offered to accompany me 
there. 

"As we were about to leave the place Morello 
turned to Cecala and I overheard him say: 

" 'Nino, I wish you would not have the profes- 
sor come here any more. You know there are 
detectives following me and as soon as they see 
a suspicious face they arrest him. The other 
night, as you know, they arrested father and son 
while they were going down the stairs.' 

" 'I know it,' replied Cecala, 'but what are 
your suspicions about Don Antonio?' 

" 'Well — er — sometimes you can't tell.' 

"The 'Black-Hand' chief dropped into a brief 
reverie. Maybe he had a vague vision of the 
fate that was to befall him. The other man 
present, Michele, the Calabrian, had not uttered 
a single word during the entire conversation. 

"After we had left the house Cecala turned to 
me and said with bated breath: 

" 'The man you saw with one hand is Giuseppe 



MEETING THE ARCH-BANDIT 95 

Morello, the same who was implicated in the 
barrel murder.' 

"I did not reply because I did not know of 
Morello; neither did I know of the barrel mur- 
der. I only thought that he really had one 
arm because I did not see the other. From time 
to time Morello had been snuffing tobacco. 

u 'l want you to know all my friends so that 
you can have an idea with whom you are deal- 
ing, and don't think they are poor, but all land- 
lords,' now confided Cecala. 'Morello is Presi- 
dent of the Corleone Society (Ignatz Florio) 
and has in his power four buildings amounting 
to one hundred thousand dollars. The other 
man you met the last time, Pecoraro, is the pro- 
prietor of a large wine deposit, and he has more 
property. Giglio and Cina are owners of the 
estates that you saw. I am poor because I did 
not know how to profit. My profession is that 
of barber. I had a splendid shop, but the busi- 
ness was poor and I sold it. Two weeks after 
I sold the barber shop I got in with Morello and 
opened a grocery store in Mott Street. But 
after two years I was forced into bankruptcy 
because all the goods were sold on credit and I 
was not paid. Then I opened up two gambling 



96 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

houses, one in Mott Street and the other in Eliza- 
beth Street. I was getting along well while I 
fed the police. When I did not want to give 
them any more they began to go against me and 
forced me to close up.' 

"At the moment I could not understand why 
it should have been necessary to 'feed' the po- 
lice, as he said, not being acquainted with the 
methods here." 



CHAPTER XI 

THE BLACK-HANDER's POLICE PROTECTION 

" 'Certainly,' Cecala said. 'In America 
everything is prohibited; but if you pay the po- 
lice or detectives they will leave you in peace. 
In this land money counts, so that if you kill any 
one and have money you will get out of it. Mo- 
rello knows how much money he has given to 
detectives to get out free out of three or four 
cases in which he was implicated. Even now 
he is supposed to be watched by the police who 
do not care to watch him because they know that 
they will receive their bit. The government al- 
ways holds him under suspicion as the head of 
the Black-Handers. When anything happens 
Morello is always in danger of arrest, but the 
same policeman he feeds tips him off and so Mo- 
rello goes into hiding. The police then feign to 
raid his place, but, of course, the man wanted is 
never there. Now then, my dear Don Antonio, 

97 



98 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

that's the way things are done in this country. 
During the last three years I am getting along 
well in my line : that is, I am the head of a band 
of incendiaries and earn a little money now and 
then.' 

"Cecala was disclosing to me a phase of the 
under-world life of crime and horror of which I 
knew nothing at the time. 

" 'And what do you do to earn this money? 
Do you take the objects that you find in the 
burned houses?' I inquired. 

" 'No,' sneered Cecala with contempt. 'I set 
fire to the houses to defraud the insurance com- 
panies !' 

"He said this with the pride of a professional 
expert. 

' 'And how do you do it?' I inquired, curious 
to learn his ways. 

" 'Well, you own a store and have insured it 
against fire. You have paid up the insurance 
and do not wish to pay any more, but you want 
to realize on the money already paid in. You 
will send for me to set a fire. In my manner I 
will develop a fire in an instant. When the in- 
surance company pays you the money you pay 
me a percentage.' 



POLICE PROTECTION 99 

" 'Then perhaps you were the one who set the 
big fire in Mulberry Street where so many poor 
people were burned?' 

" 'No !' came the quick response. 'I do not 
set fire to make accidents happen. That fire 
was engineered by a Neapolitan band that were 
in accord with the proprietor of the dry goods 
store underneath. They did not work it right 
because they started the fire from the side of the 
store and afterwards put explosives on the stairs 
so that no trace would be left. If I had had 
that job there would have been no trace to tell 
the story, and the damage would have been done 
from the store door. There would not have been 
so many accidents and the families would have 
had time to run into the yard.' 

" 'How can you guarantee all this ? And what 
explosive matter do you use to start a fire?' I 
inquired. 

" 'Glycerine,' mumbled the bandit. 'I mix it 
with other matters. It does not smell and leaves 
no trace of the fire.' 

" 'And do you go alone on these jobs?' 

" 'No. You always need three or four men. I 
direct them and they bring the material. I pay 
each man five dollars a night.' 



100 t THE BARREL MYSTERY 

" 'And these helpers, do they make much 
money?' 

" 'Quite some — now and then. They risk their 
hides. But it is not steady work, you know; 
only on occasions.' 

"The train arrived at the station and Cecala 
indicated a seat separate from him so as not to 
invite suspicion. At Houston Street he sig- 
nalled for me to get off, and when in the street 
he asked me where my aunt lived. When I told 
him in Bleecker Street he said: 'I will accom- 
pany you. Let us go to a drug store near by 
first. I must ask something.' 

"We went to Spring Street and entered a drug 
store with a sign over the door spelling the name 
of 'Antonio Mocito.' Cecala asked a boy in 
the store where the druggist might be and the 
boy replied that he was out. Cecala told the 
boy to inform the druggist that he, Cecala, had 
been there and to prepare 'that matter.' 

" 'I put this druggist right !' boasted Cecala in 
a low voice. 'He had a drug store and did a 
little business. I suggested to him that he in- 
sure the store against fire. After he had paid 
up for a little while, I put fire to it and the com- 
pany paid him three thousand dollars with which 



POLICE PROTECTION 101 

he put up this new store. So you see, he was 
saved !' 

"On the way to my aunt's house Cecala made 
many suggestions to me warning me that I was 
to tell my aunt nothing. He told me to meet 
him at his home at six o'clock the next morning. 
This was at 6 P. M. 

"I leave it to the reader's imagination to pic- 
ture the condition of mind I was in after learn- 
ing of the kind of 'gentlemen' I was obliged 
to deal with. I had been caught in a trap set 
by a band of incendiaries and Black-Handers 
enjoying police protection. What good would 
it have done me to go to the police about it? 
What could anybody in my position do under the 
circumstances? I thought it would be better to 
keep silent and save my life until I had occasion 
to denounce the gang. I was secretly awaiting 
this opportunity without their knowledge. 
Then, again, how could I proceed against them 
without witnesses ? 

"The thought that afflicted me with most con- 
cern was the fate of the lady. I realized that 
her consent to my desire had caused her to be 
mixed up with bad people. I also realized that 
if we were discovered by the police, Caterina and 



102 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

I would be the only ones to suffer because we 
were alone and without any help from any one 
and penniless. 

"I summoned all the courage I could muster. 
I always appeared to be contented with the or- 
ders that were given me, and I executed them 
without finding the least objection. 

"I was daily afflicted by the life I was leading, 
and was continually disturbed in my mind be- 
cause I saw that I had not one penny, and when 
I asked for money I was bluntly refused. It 
also worried me to think that my family believed 
I was working and making money without send- 
ing any home. Time and again I planned to 
run away, but how? Where would I go? I 
would have to abandon all my things and be 
left out in the street. And who would help me? 
A penniless stranger. 

"On the morning of February 5, 1909, it was 
snowing and very cold when I went to the home 
of Cecala at the appointed hour. He invited me 
to sit down and his wife served me with coffee. 
I saw his five children, quite sympathetic chil- 
dren, three girls and two boys. In looking at 
them I was seized by remorse to think that these 



POLICE PROTECTION 103 

innocent children as the offspring of a criminal 
would probably be converted into criminals also 
in time. Cecala told me brusquely that we 
would have to leave on the ten o'clock train in 
spite of the snow. 

" 'When we arrive at Highland there will be 
no one about the station, and we will arouse no 
suspicion,' explained Cecala. 

" 'Have you found the man to prepare the 
ink?' I asked. 

" * Yes. He is coming with us. Here is a dol- 
lar. Go to your aunt and meet us at the Grand 
Central Station. I am going to Don Piddu's 
(Morello's) to get other inks that were bought 
last night. But now that I think about it, meet 
me at the Brooklyn Bridge and you will buy 
some green ink, because they would not sell it to 
me. Say you are a printer and refer them to the 
shop where you were working.' 

" 'And if they object, what shall I reply?' 

" 'I will understand.' 

" 'And what kind of ink is it necessary to buy?' 

" 'The kind we need are marked in the cata- 
logue.' 

" 'And who has marked them?' 



104 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

" C A professor who has done other work for me 
and is very practical at his work. If necessary, 
he will come and work together with you/ 

"Cecala took me to a store on Rose Street 
where he employed sign language to explain the 
kind of ink he wanted. A young lady asked 
questions in English which I could not answer. 
Cecala then interrupted and tried to act as inter- 
preter. I was confused for a moment. Then I 
took out a bill head with my name on it which I 
had used while I acted as solicitor for work in an 
Italian printing shop in Mott Street. The 
young lady read it, and after about twenty min- 
utes she returned, giving me three cans of ink 
and the bill, which Cecala paid. 

"Cecala now directed me to go to my aunt's 
place before meeting him at the Grand Central 
Station in time for the ten o'clock train. There 
I met the man who was to assist me in printing 
the counterfeit bills. The reader may now ap- 
preciate the sagacity of Cecala in leaving me 
after coming out of the ink store. It gave him 
the advantage to meet the mysterious man who 
was to help in the mixing of the inks, and it also 
gave him a chance to throw anybody off the trail 
if there were detectives following. 



POLICE PROTECTION 105 

"At the Grand Central Station we met the 
man with the camera. Cecala bought three tick- 
ets for Poughkeepsie. Arriving there we found 
Cina waiting for us with a closed carriage. He 
drove to another station and then to a ferry 
where we went across the river to Highland and 
from there to the clandestine factory. Supper 
was waiting for us there, and we rested till the 
next morning to start work. During the eve- 
ning, Cecala, Cina, Uncle Vincent and the other 
man played cards while Bernardo and I chopped 
wood for the stove. 

"On the morning of February 6, 1909, we got 
the press ready. The man whose name I had not 
yet been given mixed the ink. After taking 
some proofs the right shade of green was devel- 
oped. The unnamed man then explained to me 
that by mixing black and yellow I would obtain 
an olive green, and by mixing this color with the 
clear green in the cans which were brought up 
from New York, the right shade of green, just 
like the genuine money color, would be obtained. 
He explained this so that I could mix up more 
in case the ink he had mixed would not be suffi- 
cient to print the ten thousand sheets of the two- 
dollar bills, which would make twenty thousand 



106 ,THE BARREL MYSTERY 

dollars in counterfeit money. Then he meas- 
ured the genuine note and marked where the seal 
was to be printed. He also prepared the blue 
shade of ink for this impression. He advised me 
to pay close attention to the black. 

"We were alone in the room while he was in- 
structing me, and I told him that I had little 
faith in Cecala and his companions because they 
did not give me any money, and made me remain 
without a penny after having worked a long time. 
He told me that I ought to be contented, for I 
was dealing with gentlemen. In olden times, he 
said, men in that line of work, when the work had 
been done, would assassinate the one doing the 
very work I was doing. The man was murdered, 
he explained to me, so that the counterfeiters 
would not be discovered and the secret revealed 
to the police. 

" 'Is there any danger of my being assassinated 
after completing this work?' I asked. 

" 'No,' he said, 'there is no danger. You are 
dealing with good people.' 

"After he was through with his work he 
wanted to see how the printing progressed and 
how many an hour were struck off. He was try- 



POLICE PROTECTION 107 

ing to figure whether the work could be com- 
pleted in fifteen days. 

"We worked at the press until about 4 P. M., 
when there were over three thousand sheets 
printed on one side. This progress seemed to 
satisfy the photographer and ink mixer. At 
about 4 :30 P. M., Cina, Cecala and Bernardo 
went away with the stranger, leaving Uncle Vin- 
cent behind with me. Before leaving, Cecala 
said that Giglio would come next morn- 
ing to help and, if necessary, Bernardo would 
return also. Cecala said that when the green 
side of the printing was completed, and I saw 
that a change in the ink was necessary, I was to 
leave the plant and meet him in New York. 
Hereupon Uncle Vincent declared that it was 
necessary to have Bernardo present in order that 
some one could be watching outside the stone 
house and keep an eye out for strangers. Cecala 
consented, and Bernardo remained with us to do 
sentinel duty. Next morning Giglio came, and 
he and Uncle Vincent and myself worked on 
without interruption. Bernardo, armed with a 
revolver and a rifle, remained on the outside, hav- 
ing received orders from Uncle Vincent to fire 



108 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

a shot into the air in the event of strangers ap- 
pearing. This was to be the signal for us. 

"On February 9, 1909, the press was ready 
for the seal. In the morning Cina handed me a 
note from Cecala and a letter from my aunt. 
Cecala's note requested me to remain in the 
house and not come to New York if there was 
no urgent need of it. My aunt's note informed 
me that my brother was about to be operated 
upon. I lost no time getting into my street 
clothes. I prevailed on Cina to show me the way 
to the station, where I boarded a train for New 
York. 

"My first move was to see Cecala and get some 
money from him, but I did not find him at his 
home. Then I went to Morello's home in One 
Hundred and Thirty-eighth Street. Mrs. Mo- 
rello told me that her husband was not at home, 
nor did she seem to know where Cecala could be 
found. I hurried to my brother's house, got 
there just as he was being removed in an ambu- 
lance to the Italian Hospital in Houston Street. 
I was without a penny and felt very miserable 
to think that I could not help at this moment. 

"After going with my brother to the hospital 
I went to Cecala's house. He seemed much sur- 



POLICE PROTECTION 109 

prised that I should have come to New York 
without first consulting him. However, when I 
explained the circumstances, Cecala approved of 
my action, but said that he had no money, only 
two dollars for the return fare. He assured me, 
though, that he would see to it that my brother 
was put in a private ward. This would be an 
easy matter, Cecala said, because he was well ac- 
quainted with several of the doctors at the Italian 
Hospital. He advised me to leave for the plant 
as soon as possible, saying that he had many re- 
quests for the counterfeit money and the custo- 
mers were waiting for him to fill the orders. 

"I was always obedient to the orders of the 
gang, and so after going to my brother's house 
and trying to console his wife by assuring her 
that I had arranged to have a private room for 
him at the hospital, I left for Highland on the 
11 :40 P. M. train. It was very cold when I ar- 
rived at the little station on the Hudson, and I 
was almost frozen stiff trying to find Cina's 
house in the darkness. I stopped at Cina's house 
until the next morning when I was taken in his 
wagon to the stone house." 



CHAPTER XII 

A KNOCK AT THE DOOR AT 2 A. M. 

"About two o'clock on the night of February 
12, 1909, there was a knock at the door of the 
stone house. Uncle Vincent jumped out of bed 
and grabbed his rifle. Uncle was quite pale. 
Bernardo and Giglio armed themselves with re- 
volvers. I noticed they were trembling. I went 
down to the door without a light and asked: 

" 'Who is it?' 

" 'We,' replied a feminine voice. 

" 'Who are you?' 

" 'Open the door, professor.' 

"Hereupon Uncle Vincent hurried downstairs 
and said: 

" 'Ignazio has come.' 

"Bernardo and Giglio lighted a lamp and 
opened the door. A well dressed man wearing 
a fur overcoat and a fur cap, a man about thirty 
years old, ran toward Uncle Vincent and em- 
braced him, kissing him on the cheeks. 

no 



A KNOCK AT THE DOOR 111 

"Following Ignazio (Lupo), came Cecala, 
Sylvester, Cina and an elderly man who had gray 
hair and moustache, a man of more than fifty 
years old, elegantly dressed, and wearing a gold 
watch and chain and a large diamond ring. 
After Cecala had introduced me to Ignazio 
Lupo and the elderly man, named Uncle Salva- 
tore, they requested Caterina to get up and pre- 
pare a meal, as the early morning visitors were 
hungry and had brought meat and wine. The 
new arrivals were very courteous to Caterina, 
especially Lupo, who appeared to be a man of 
great politeness. 

"Lupo talked some with Caterina and asked 
her if she liked the place, to which Caterina an- 
swered that it was cold in the house and that she 
suffered from hunger. Lupo assured her that 
he would see that we were provided for amply 
hereafter, and wrote down on a piece of paper 
what Caterina suggested in the way of food- 
stuffs. Lupo then instructed Sylvester to take 
the note down to New York to Mrs. Lupo, who 
would have the goods shipped up to Highland. 
We never saw the goods, though! 

"While Caterina was frying about six pounds 
of meat, Cecala and Cina unloaded two large 



112 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

grips and several bundles. Lupo opened the 
valise and removed two repeating rifles, two re- 
volvers and four boxes of cartridges. There 
were about one thousand rounds of ammunition. 
Lupo then instructed all the gang in the use of 
the rifles and the revolvers, which, he said, would 
shoot about fifteen shots a minute. All present 
complimented Lupo on his foresight, declaring 
that the weapons were just the thing. After a 
little more talk about the arms every one sat 
down to eat, except I and Caterina. There 
were no chairs left for us. We acted as waiters, 
serving the 'lords' of the gang! 

"They were eating and drinking joyfully when 
Uncle Vincent turned to Lupo and said: 

" 'What news are you bringing, Ignazio?' 

" 'You all know the news. Besides, Petrosino x 
has gone to Italy.' 

" 'If he went to Italy, he is as good as dead,' 
said Uncle Vincent. 

" 'I hope they get him,' was the pious wish of 
Cina. 

i Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino of the Italian Detective Bureau, 
attached to the New York Police Department, was murdered in 
Palermo, Sicily, while on a mission for the Police Department 
then under the guidance of Commissioner Theodore Bingham. 
Petrosino had been an implacable foe of the Lupo-Morello gang. 
His murder has never been explained to the public. 



A KNOCK AT THE DOOR 113 

" 'He has ruined many of us,' went on Lupo. 
'It is enough to say that he had himself locked 
up in the Tombs Prison to interrogate the sus- 
pects and uncover crimes.' 

" 'Many a mother's child he has ruined,' said 
Uncle Salvatore (Palermo), 'and how many are 
still crying!' 

" 'What is more,' continued Lupo, 'I have 

given Michele, the Calabrian, his fare to 

to go and see his family, which was stricken by 
the earthquake.' 

" 'You have done well,' broke in Cecala, wink- 
ing an evil eye and making a peculiar motion. 
Doubtless this was a secret sign. He lifted his 
glass and shouted : 'Let's drink our own health 
and to hell with that Carogna!' * 

"The 'table talk' now turned on other things, 
such as the exploding of bombs by Sylvester, 
aided by his son and the step-brother of Morello. 
It appeared that they had run away after the 
bomb had been hurled when they were caught 
and brought before the judge, where they 
pleaded innocence and so escaped the clutches of 

i Carogna in the Sicilian dialect means a putrid, dead animal. 
Among the Sicilian criminals the word is used to designate any- 
body that brings harm to any gang of criminals. 



114 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

A ■ ■ 

the law. There was some talk of Lupo's busi- 
ness failure for a matter of about $100,000; and 
mention was also made of the failure of a bank 
in Elizabeth Street, which was controlled by 
Uncle Vincent. 

"In spite of his business reverses Lupo was in 
good humor and sang several songs for the com- 
pany with the bravado of the born bandit. By 
and by the lusty gang went to bed, occupying 
every bed in the house. Caterina and I re- 
mained awake. At daylight, Cina, Sylvester 
and Giglio left. The others remained to direct 
and help in the work. 

"After three days of directing the work at 
the stone house, and trying out the guns in the 
woods together with Uncle Salvatore, Lupo and 
the latter departed. Salvatore remarking that 
he was going to make his home at Cina's house. 
Their departure left Uncle Vincent, Giglio, 
Bernardo and myself to do the work. 

"About the twenty-third or the twenty-fourth 
of February, I am not certain which, I gave to 
Cina and Cecala the completed work on the two- 
dollar notes, that is: twenty thousand and four 
hundred dollars in counterfeit money. The bills 
were put up in packages of one hundred and 



A KNOCK AT THE DOOR [115 

- 
bundled into a dress suit case. Then they 

started to plan the route for distributing the bad 
money. Cecala said that he preferred to go to 
Philadelphia first ; then Baltimore, where he had 
many friends; from Baltimore they would cover 
Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Chicago. The counter- 
feit money, after being placed at each of the 
centers, was to be placed in circulation on a 
given day, so that the notes would appear simul- 
taneously in all the cities. 

"They made me take the plates off the press 
and hide them under a plank in the floor to- 
gether with some ink. Every piece of paper 
with any printing on was burned. Before de- 
parting they assured Caterina and I that they 
would return in a week and give us some good 
money ; also, they would then tell me whether to 
continue or suspend the work. 

"A very lonesome week in the dreary old stone 
house followed. On the first Sunday in March, 
1909, Cina's brother, Peppino, bobbed up. He 
had come to take me to Cina's house where cer- 
tain people from New York wanted to talk with 
me. He took a boxful of the Canadian five- 
dollar counterfeit bills. The visitors were to de- 
termine whether the Canadian money was good 



116 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

enough to sell or whether it was to be burned 
up, so he explained. 

"Upon hearing this I had a presentiment that 
the day of my being murdered had arrived. 
Without saying a word to Peppino and Cina, 
I called Caterina aside and told her my fears. 
I showed her how to use the rifle. 

" 'Caterina,' I said, 'in case I do not return 
and people come to you with any excuse, no 
matter what, to get you, it is a sure sign that 
they have assassinated me. Then shoot whoever 
comes after you, or they will murder you!' 

"The poor woman began to cry, and I had 
difficulty in composing her. Unnoticed by Pep- 
pino I managed to steal Uncle Vincent's revol- 
ver, and put it into my pocket." 



CHAPTER XIII 

THE BLACK-HANDERS IN SESSION 

"Upon entering the house, which was close hy 
Cina's farmhouse, I saw a table in a room on 
the ground floor and around this table were 
seated the following bandits: Ignazio Lupo, 
Giuseppe Morello, Antonio Cecala, Uncle Sal- 
vatore (Giuseppe Palermo), Uncle Vincent, 
Vincenzio Giglio, Bernardo Perrone, Nicola Syl- 
vester, besides a man from Brooklyn whom the 
gang called Domenico and who was a baker, and 
five other men whose names I did not know. 
Cina was not there, being occupied with his fam- 
ily, where a birth was expected momentarily. 

"As I stepped in no one motioned to recog- 
nize me nor was my greeting returned. Me- 
chanically I took a seat. After about ten min- 
utes of sinister silence and ill-boding glances, 
Cina broke the strain as he came rushing in with 
Peppino, his brother, both of them laughing and 
shouting like madmen. 

117 



118 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

" 'A boy! A boy!' they yelled. 

"Cina received the congratulations of the 
gang. Silence once more haunted the room. 
Then Lupo turned to me abruptly and said: 

" 'Don Antonio, your work is worthless. It 
is a rotten job; so much so that none of it could 
be sold. Cina and Cecala have risked their lives 
in trying to sell it. However, they have sold 
some four thousand dollars of the counterfeit 
money, taking in, all in all, about one thousand 
dollars in genuine money. They have expended 
about two hundred dollars on their trip to differ- 
ent cities distributing our product. Therefore, 
there remains about eight hundred dollars, which 
will be divided among the ones that have ad- 
vanced the first money. If you had turned out 
a good job we could have taken in more by 
selling it all. As it is about seven or eight thou- 
sand dollars have been made for the stove. 

" 'The Canadian money is worthless and must 
be burned. It cannot be put on the market. 
But this is no fault of yours, in this instance. 
It is the fault of the one who made the plates. 

" 'Now you watch how the money is divided. 
If there is any left, you get it. These men pres- 
ent will not accept a penny of the remainder 



BLACK-HANDERS IN SESSION 119 

until those who advanced the money have been 
settled with.' 

" 'As my work did not turn out well,' I re- 
plied to Lupo, 'give me only enough to return 
to New York.' 

" 'No,' broke in Morello, decisively. 'We 
don't know yet whether you may return to New 
York or whether you are to continue the work 
in company with another man.' 

" 'You want money?' asked Lupo. 'Who will 
give it to you? I have spent two hundred dol- 
lars and now will take that amount. There will 
then be but six hundred dollars to be divided.' 

" 'Don't do things all your own way, Ignazio,' 
Morello warned in his husky voice. 'Let us de- 
liberate and argue this thing out. There are 
eight hundred dollars. You have spent two 
hundred dollars. You get seventy-five dollars 
now. I have spent fifty dollars and will take 
it now, as I need it very much, as you know. 
Fifty dollars we will give to Cina, twenty dol- 
lars to Don Antonio, ten to Uncle Salvatore and 
ten more to Uncle Vincent, five to Giglio and 
five to Bernardo; what is left is needed for the 
continuation of the work with the other plates.' 

" 'And the man who made the plates, don't 



120 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

you want to give him anything?' inquired Cecala. 

" 'Yes,' was the reply in chorus. 

" 'Well,' turning to me, 'take these twenty 
dollars,' said Morello, 'and return to the house. 
Await there the decision whether you are to re- 
turn to New York or not.' 

"I accepted the money and tucked it into my 
pocket. Then I was driven to the stone house 
in a carriage accompanied by Cina's brother 
Peppino. 

"During this session with the gang some of 
them got busy and started to burn up the Cana- 
dian five-dollar notes, and a portion of the two- 
dollar American notes. These were the notes re- 
turned as worthless by the gang. While throw- 
ing the notes into the stove Uncle Salvatore and 
Peppino exclaimed from time to time: 

" 'What a shame. They might all have been 
sold.' 

"Once more at the stone house I explained to 
Caterina what had happened. I told her that 
they had given me the twenty dollars and that 
I was going to go to New York and not return ; 
of course she was to come along with me. But 
after thinking it over we resolved that our ap- 



BLACK-HANDERS IN SESSION 121 

pearance was so miserable that we had better re- 
main a while longer. There was also the ever- 
present danger that if we ran away from this 
gang we would be murdered. We abandoned 
the idea, therefore, and stayed at the stone house 
awaiting the orders of the gang. 

"We were not kept waiting *ong. Next 
morning, Salvatore Cina came to the house in a 
very happy mood. He told me that I could not 
return to New York because the work was to 
be continued with other and better plates for 
the two-dollar notes. The five-dollar notes were 
to be continued, and we were to print until five 
million dollars had been struck off the press. 
This amount, he said, would make us all rich. 
Then the work was to cease. He told me that 
it had been decided to buy a horse and carriage 
for the exclusive use of the stone house. I was 
to go to New York and meet Cecala who would 
introduce me to the man who was to direct the 
work from now on. I was to tell Cina the day 
I intended going to New York. 

"After arranging that Giglio and Bernardo 
were to remain with Caterina, while I was in 
New York and Uncle Vincent went to New- 



122 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

burgh on business, I said that I would be ready 
for my trip in two days. Then Cina left me 
after he had warned me not to tell any of the 
secrets of the place, explaining how hard it was 
for the police to discover the plant. He declared 

I must be happy in the thought of future wealth. 

"On March 7, 1909, Cina returned to the stone 
house with a carriage, bringing Giglio and Ber- 
nardo to keep Caterina company. He drove me 
to the Highland station, and I got aboard the 

II A. M. train for New York. Arriving at the 
Grand Central station I was met by Cecala, who 
took me to a house at No. 5 Jones Street. Not 
finding the party he was seeking there, he told 
me to go to my aunt's house and return to the 
Jones Street address at eight o'clock that even- 
ing and ask for Don Peppe. 

"That same evening at the appointed hour I 
went to the Jones Street house and inquired in 
a grocery store on the street floor for Don Peppe. 
A woman indicated to me the door where I 
knocked. A bald-headed man, about forty-five 
years old, with a nice light brown moustache 
opened the door. 

"Cecala was there seated in a chair. He in- 
troduced me to the man who opened the door 



BLACK-HANDERS IN SESSION" 123 

saying that he was Giuseppe Calichio, a litho- 
graph engraver, alias Don Peppe. Cecala 
turned to Calichio and said: 

" 'Don Peppe, we are in need of your work. 
This man (indicating me) is a printer, but he is 
not capable of doing the work that we require. 
You must go with him and continue this work. 
It is already started and everything will go well. 
When we have printed two or three million dol- 
lars' worth we will stop. We are in luck.' 

" 'Unless we are discovered by the police,' re- 
plied Calichio. 

" 'Have no such fear,' said Cecala. 'The 
place where the work is done is very secure. No 
one would ever suspect that such a thing is go- 
ing there.' 

" 'Listen, Cecala,' said Calichio. 'If things 
happen as they did when I did work for you be- 
fore, then I refuse to go. I do not care to work 
and risk my life and then get nothing for it.' 

" 'No, no,' said Cecala. 'You know that that 
work did not turn out at all well.' 

" 'I know nothing other than that you caused 
me to sell my little printing shop, and I am in 
terrible condition financially even now as a re- 
sult of it. If you want me to do the work you 



124 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

speak about in company with brother Comito 
here, you must give me twenty dollars a week 
and board. I have a family in Italy to look 
after, don't forget. As long as you pay me what 
I want I am ready to work for you ; but I must 
be paid in advance. The first week that you 
fail to pay me in advance I will cease to work and 
come home. And what is more, my dear Cecala, 
I want good eating and must have wine every 
day ; as you know there is not a day that goes by 
without my drinking wine that I do not get a 
headache. The wine gives me strength and 
health.' 

"Cecala's answer to this was characteristic: 

" 'Don Peppe, I will do all that is possible to 
get you twenty dollars a week, but I must first 
talk with the others, my friends, as you know 
that I am not alone in this undertaking. As to 
the eating, you will have all that you want and 
there will be wine. I will have a barrel of it 
shipped to Highland, direct to Cina, who will see 
that you get some when you want it.' 

" 'Who is this Cina?' asked Calichio, suspi- 
ciously. 

" 'He is my godfather, whom you will know 
when you are in Highland,' said Cecala. 



BLACK-HANDERS IN SESSION 125 

" 'Perhaps he is that farmer whom I saw in 
Don Piddu's (Morello's) house last year?' 

" 'Precisely,' said Cecala. 

"He continued : 'I will bring the first twenty 
dollars to-morrow. To-morrow night you will 
leave with Comito?' 

" 'All right. But first, I must see the plates 
and examine them to see whether they are good. 
If I am to do this work, it must be done per- 
fectly. You know that I do not do things by 
halves. I must see whether the plates need re- 
touching. I will bring my tools. If I am un- 
able to use them for this work then we will buy 
some before leaving the city.' 

" 'Have no doubt,' continued Cecala. 'I will 
come to-morrow morning and show the plates to 
you, and you can take them with you.' 

" 'Come to-morrow about 10 A. M. with Co- 
mito, and not before ten, because I expect a per- 
son on some personal business and do not want 
him to see you,' counselled Calichio. 

"During all this talk I did not say a word. 
On my way with Cecala to my aunt's house in 
Bleecker Street Cecala remarked: 

" 'Don Antonio, that man Calichio is the pro- 
fessor for the job. In Italy he has printed for 



126 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

aristocratic families, who were in hard luck. He 
printed for these aristocrats about three million 
dollars in fifty, one-hundred, five-hundred and 
one-thousand lire notes. This money was 
worked off in this country on people who were 
going to Italy on trips. Don Peppe is capable 
of transferring to lithographic stones the engrav- 
ing on bank notes and then transfer the engrav- 
ing from the lithographic stones on to zinc 
plates, and in this way perfect the plates that 
are necessary for our business.' 

" 'Is that how our plates were made?' I in- 
quired. 

" 'No. Ours were made by photography and a 
lot of preparations are necessary by that method. 
It is enough to say that I have spent over a hun- 
dred dollars up-to-date for chemicals.' 

"Suddenly Cecala turned on me a whis- 
pered: 'Don Antonio, what have you told your 
aunt?' 

" 'Nothing— why?' 

" 'Did she ask where you are working?' 

" 'No. She knows that I am working in Phila- 
delphia.' 

" 'Good! If she asks with whom you are 
working in Philadelphia say that your employer 



BLACK-HANDERS IN SESSION 127 

is a priest, and his name is Bonaventure 

( )' 

" 'Very well,' I replied. 'My aunt is not in- 
terested whether I am working with a priest or 
with a monk. I have told her that I was em- 
ployed in a printing shop, nothing else.' 

" 'Good! You are an intelligent man, and 
that is why I and all my friends like you Cala- 
brians, because you are secretive and are never 
corrupted. I knew a Calabrian who was ar- 
rested with counterfeit notes on him, once, and 
the policemen made him all kinds of promises 
and even punched him, in their effort to learn 
from him who had given him the counterfeit 
money to exchange; but he never told a word. 
He never squealed.' 

"I made no reply; only shook Cecala's hand 
and went to my aunt's. 

"The next morning, I forget whether it was 
the 9th or the 10th of March, I went at the given 
hour to Calichio's house, where I found Cecala 
examining the zinc plates for the two-dollar 
American notes, of the check letter C, plate num- 
ber 1110. 

"Calichio carefully examined the plates with 
a magnifying glass. He explained to us that 



128 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

the acids that were used for washing the plates 
were too strong and had destroyed some fine 
lines and that it would be necessary to retouch 
the plates and so raise the missing lines. He 
would do it himself, Calichio said, if the proper 
tools were brought to him. Cecala quickly an- 
swered that the tools would be bought immedi- 
ately and that we were to prepare to leave for 
Highland that night. We then went to a hard- 
ware store on the Bowery, and Calichio selected 
some chisels and other tools, for which Cecala 
paid. As soon as we were out of the store Ce- 
cala gave Calichio his first twenty dollars in ad- 
vance. Turning to me, Cecala said: 

" 'Don Antonio, Don Peppe and I are going 
to buy some chemicals. You can go away and 
be at Jones Street to-night at 10 P. M. ready 
to leave. Buy what you need, because you will 
not return to New York until the work is com- 
pleted.' 

"I went to a store and bought a pair of shoes 
for myself and a pair for Caterina. I also 
bought some little delicacies of food for her. 

"That night the three of us left on the 11 
P. M. train for Highland. Arriving there at 2 
in the morning, we were met at the station by 



BLACK-HANDERS IN SESSION 129 

Peppino Cina with a carriage. He told us that 
we must go directly to the stone house and not 
stop at Cina's farm because a strange face might 
arouse suspicion among the neighbors. We did 
not work that day. We took a much-needed 
rest." 



CHAPTER XIV 

PEINTING THE BAD MONEY 

"Calichio was up at an early hour and set 
to work retouching the two-dollar American note 
plates. He fixed the plates on wood blocks, 
made the press ready and got the right impres- 
sion, prepared the ink and struck off proofs on 
several kinds of paper to see the effect of the 
ink and get the correct shade. He also pre- 
pared some chemicals with which to dampen the 
paper and give a darker shade. Having suc- 
ceeded in getting the right shade of green 
Calichio explained that the color was the same 
as on the genuine notes and that all they needed 
now was the paper. 

"Cecala then said he would leave immediately 
and have the paper shipped forthwith. Turning 
to me Cecala gave instructions for me to be busy 
only at feeding the press. Don Peppe were to 
direct the job. I to obey the latter in every de- 

130 



PRINTING THE BAD MONEY 131 

tail. Cecala then took the proofs and put them 
in his pocket, saying that he would show them 
to Ignazio and Don Piddu (Lupo and Morello) 
and mark the difference between this and the 
first job, which was mine. 

"Two days later Nick Sylvester came and 
brought with him a suit-case full of paper which 
he gave to Calichio saying: 

" 'To-morrow Ignazio will come to see how 
the work is going along. In the meantime you 
can proceed with the work and print. I will re- 
main to help you.' 

"When Lupo arrived the next morning in 
company with Cecala and Cina they all came up 
to the work room. After examining the work 
they praised Calichio, telling him that they ought 
to give him a gold medal. As for me, I was de- 
served of a dirty, leather medal, the bandits 
hinted. 

"Turning to me Lupo said, 'This homely Cala- 
brian doesn't even deserve to be looked at. The 
work he did should have been burned on his head* 

"I did not reply, but played the simpleton. 

"After examining the work Lupo turned to 
Uncle Vincent and said: 

" 'Uncle Vic — guess what's happened?' 



132 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

"'What?' 

" 'Petrosino was killed in Italy.' 

" 'Honestly?' 

" 'Honestly. The papers are talking about it.' 

" 'I said it,' continued Uncle Vincent, 'that if 
Petrosino went to Italy they would kill him.' 

" 'Who was the hero? He deserves a medal,' 
said Cecala. 

" 'And where have they killed him?' continued 
Uncle Vincent. 

" 'In Palermo/ 

" 'Then it means that it was well done/ said 
Uncle Vincent, significantly. 

" 'Certainly. The way it was done it could 
never fail,' said Lupo. 

" 'And ,' Cecala said. 'This was 

death becoming him. How many sons of 
mothers he has condemned for nothing.' 

"Hearing all this I asked: 

" 'Who is this Petrosino?' 

" 'He was the head of the secret police in New 
York,' replied Cecala. 'A homely man! Worse 
than the Bubonic Plague.' 

" 'I never heard of him.' 

" 'You will never meet him,' said Cecala 
dryly, the others grinning. 



PRINTING THE BAD MONEY 133 

" 'Then it was successful?' continued Uncle 
Vincent. 

" 'Certainly/ replied Lupo. 'It could not be 
successful in New York because he guarded his 
hide. Here he toted a revolver in his coat pocket 
and was guarded by two policemen a short dis- 
tance behind him.' 

" 'It is a good example for the policemen,' 
continued Uncle Vincent. 'No one will now 
dare to go to Palermo. There they will find 
only sure death.' 

"Cina did not talk any because he was in- 
tent on spreading the counterfeit notes out on 
the garret floor. When he came downstairs to 
the workroom, however, he said : 

" 'As soon as we can we must celebrate for 
joy; just now we will be content with a glass of 
wine.' 

"They all went downstairs and sat at a table 
conversing in low voices and I could not under- 
stand what they said because the press made a 
noise and interfered with my hearing. 

"I and Uncle Vincent continued to work at 
the press under Calichio's directions. Sylvester 
would take the notes as they were printed and 
spread them out on the floor in the garret to dry. 



134 JHE BARREL MYSTERY 

Bernardo was stationed outside armed with rifle 
and revolver to guard the house and to 'spot' 
any person who might pass or prowl about the 
premises. 

"In the afternoon of that day Lupo, Cecala, 
and Cina went outside and had some sport try- 
ing out their revolvers against the trees. When 
they returned Lupo asked Calichio how long it 
would take to print the ten thousand two-dollar 
bills. About twenty days was Calichio's esti- 
mate. 

"Lupo then told Calichio that he would leave 
the plant, but would return at the end of the 
month and bring plates for five-dollar Ameri- 
can notes. He addressed Calichio as 'dear Don 
Peppe' and told him to be prepared for the work 
and to take particular pains with the five-dollar 
notes, because he intended sending some of them 
to Italy. 

" 'Have no doubts,' replied Calichio. 'I have 
never done any work that was useless, and you 
know it. My work has always been perfect.' 

" 'Bravo, Don Peppe, we know that you are 
a professor at it,' said Cecala. 

"That same night about six P. M. Cecala, 
Lupo, and Cina went away, leaving me with 



PRINTING THE BAD MONEY 135 

Calichio, Uncle Vincent, Sylvester, and Ber- 
nardo. 

"During that month (March, 1909) we 
worked without interruption printing the two- 
dollar notes. About the 27th, the first twenty 
thousand dollars of the counterfeit two-dollar 
notes were ready and were turned over to Cina 
and Sylvester, who were to bring them to New 
York. 

"After this first job of Calichio's workman- 
ship had been turned over, on the last Sunday 
in March Lupo returned in company with Cina, 
Sylvester and Giglio, who brought the plates for 
the five-dollar notes and about twenty thousand 
sheets of paper upon which to print the addi- 
tional money. 

"Upon receiving the plates Calichio looked 
them over attentively and said that they were 
copper plates and not zinc, and that there was 
need of slight retouching. He detected several 
lines that were not shown in the photograph on 
the face of the note. These lines needed to be 
etched into the plates in the picture, which rep- 
resented a farmer and an old man with a woman 
and a dog. 

"Lupo explained to Calichio that Cecala was 



136 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

on the road about New York, Brooklyn and Ho- 
boken, selling the two-dollar notes, but that as 
soon as he finished up this work he would re- 
turn to the stone house and oversee the work 
there. 

"Calichio prepared the press, fixed the inks, 
and printed the first proofs for the green side of 
the five-dollar notes. These were pronounced 
very good by Lupo and Uncle Vincent and they 
ordered that fifteen or twenty thousand of them 
be printed. Whatever paper was left was to 
be used for the two-dollar notes, which were very 
good and easily disposed of. 

"On the night of the 29th, or 30th of March, 
1909, Lupo left in company with Uncle Vincent 
and Cina. Before leaving, however, instructions 
were given to Bernardo, Giglio and Sylvester to 
count the notes printed daily so that none could 
be unaccounted for and sold into circulation. 
The fear that cheating might be practiced was 
evidently in Lupo's mind. 

"We had been working about a week on the 
green side of the five-dollar notes when on April 
5th, or 6th, Cina came to the stone house and 
told us to suspend the work and start in on the 
two-dollar notes, because there was a large de- 



PRINTING THE BAD MONEY 137 

mand for them from Boston, Buffalo and Chi- 
cago, where customers were anxiously awaiting 
a new supply. Calichio immediately got the 
press ready to print another ten thousand of 
the two-dollar notes. 

"It was at this time that I decided not to con- 
tinue the work and left the press because I was 
not spoken to but ignored entirely. Even Syl- 
vester and Giglio called me by an obscene name 
and referred to me in the most distasteful lan- 
guage, horrible to hear because of the profanity. 
I told Cina I wanted him to write to Cecala and 
tell him to send me sufficient money for my fare 
to New York. At this Cina answered in the 
Sicilian dialect: 

'You are waiting for me to blow your brains 
out. Now that we are at the point where we 
can earn some money, you get sassy. Here you 
are dealing with gentlemen; otherwise, by this 
time you would be dead. Go ahead and work. 
No more of this fussing.' 

"Then turning to Sylvester and Giglio, Cina 
continued: '(Piciotti) Boys, watch this Cala- 
brian, and if he don't want to work, shoot him 
and make a hole for him in the farm.' 

"After hearing this I felt like a whipped dog 



138 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

and kept my mouth closed. I went over to the 
press and started in to work. Calichio came 
over to me and said : 

" 'Don Antonio, look out. Don't act this way 
with these people, because they are all of the 
(Mala-vita) Mafia and will do you harm in an 
instant. As long as you are among them you 
must obey orders, as I do, using prudence.' 

"Now it happened that for two weeks Calichio 
had not received his weekly salary and he be- 
came nervous for this reason. One day, when 
I did not want to print on wet paper, he dressed 
and went away. I, thinking that he had just 
gone out, stopped working and waited for him 
to return. But at night, when Sylvester, Giglio 
and Bernardo saw that Calichio did not return, 
they threatened me with death. Sylvester 
pointed a loaded revolver at me saying that he 
would dig my eyes out; Giglio, taking an axe 
in his hand, said he wanted to cut my head off, 
but Caterina intervened and the threatening 
stopped. Sylvester left the stone house to carry 
the news to New York. 

"Three days went by without any work being 
done, then Calichio returned in company with 
Sylvester and Cina. Cina handed me a note 



PRINTING THE BAD MONEY 139 

from Cecala which informed me that I must obey 
Calichio's order or suffer terrible consequences. 
I worked on against my will under Calichio's or- 
ders." 



CHAPTER XV 



SOME "AFTER-DINNER" CONFESSIONS 



"One night in the month of April (1909) I 
was sitting with the bandits in the stone house 
and listening to their stories. Calichio, Sylves- 
ter, Giglio and Bernardo were there. Among 
other exploits Calichio remarked that he had once 
printed one million lire for a baronial family re- 
siding at Naples in Italy. This was about fif- 
teen years back, he said, when his father was 
alive. 

"Sylvester boasted that his first sentence was 
for five years in the reformatory as a minor. He 
ran away from the reformatory in company with 
several other boys and got into the horse-stealing 
business. He was sentenced several times for 
small offenses and he once was arrested for 
carrying concealed weapons. 

"During his imprisonment he came to know a 
certain Terranova, who was a half-brother of 
Morello, and they became fast friends. They 

140 



SOME CONFESSIONS 141 

stole horses in New York and sold them in other 
cities at reduced prices ; or they would bring the 
horses to friends in the country (Highland) and 
receive payment. He told of being arrested once 
when with Morello's son and brother; they had 
thrown a bomb into a store in Mott Street. 
They were let go because there were no witnesses 
to the crime. In concluding his recitation Syl- 
vester said: 

" 'One night I went with the Morello brothers 
and other friends into a hall where a Jewish 
wedding was being celebrated. As we entered 
the hall we recognized two policemen who had 
helped us before in our jobs. Our idea was to 
steal watches. We succeeded in stealing about 
fifteen watches when a Jew I was robbing got 
onto me. He grabbed me by the coat and called 
the police. The policeman knew me and took 
my part. He pushed the Jew aside and told 
him to go away. The policeman said he knew 
me to be a fine young man for more than ten 
years. The policeman told the Jew he was lying 
and that if he said any more about the matter 
he would be put under arrest. The Jew was 
crest-fallen, but went on dancing all the same. 
As we came outside, I gave three watches to the 



142 THE BARREL MYSTERY] 

policeman, two of silver and one of gold. I dis- 
posed of the others in New Jersey. We divided 
the proceeds equally among us/ 

"Then Giglio made the boast that the police 
had never been able to arrest him. He had been 
in great danger, though, he said. One night in 
the winter of 1906 he went to Newburgh to steal 
a horse and carriage. While running away with 
the stolen property he was shot at twice. Neither 
bullet hit him, though, he said. Two months 
later the same horse and carriage were sold in 
Poughkeepsie for one hundred dollars. 

"Bernardo had nothing to relate except the 
innocent amusement of having stolen fruit in his 
native town. The others grinned. 

"On April 26th or 27th the second lot of Ca- 
lichio's two-dollar notes were ready. They to- 
talled fifteen thousand dollars and were wrapped 
up in rags. Giglio and Sylvester took them to 
New York. 

"Calichio and I then renewed work on the five- 
dollar notes, which we figured on finishing about 
the middle of May, when a communication from 
New York made us stop again on the five-dollar 
notes, and we started on the third lot of Cali- 
chio's two-dollar notes. During the month of 



SOME CONFESSIONS 143 

May, I, Calichio, Sylvester, Giglio and Bernardo 
all had a hand in the completion of this third lot 
of two-dollar notes, which amounted to $10,000; 
then, too, we finished up by the end of May 
$14,700 of the five-dollar notes. During this 
period Calichio received his wages punctually, 
but he did not let on to me. 

"When the work had been completed I called 
Caterina aside and told her that I was going to 
New York and would not return to the stone 
house, as I did not intend to continue at that 
sort of work. In fact, I dismantled the press, 
piece by piece, took the genuine five-dollar note 
that was used for comparison, it being the orig- 
inal from which the plates were made, and said 
to Giglio: 

" 'Don Vincenzio, I am going to New York to 
seek rooms and will see Cecala there; I am go- 
ing because, counting this last batch, I have 
printed about $60,000 and have received noth- 
ing for my labor.' 

" 'You deserve to have your head smashed on 
a rock,' was the cheerful reply. 'If the money 
is not yet sold, who will you see to get paid?' 

" 'Cecala.' 

' 'Cecala is not in New York. If he were, I 



1U THE BARREL MYSTERY 

certainly would bring him this last batch of 
money. We must wait until my brother-in-law 
comes.' 

" 'I don't care whether it is sold or not. I 
am in a miserable condition and will not remain 
here.' 

" 'Do as you like, but look out, though, if you 
do any harm there will not be a hair left of you.' 

" 'I want to go about my own business and 
do not care about others.' Thereupon, I took 
a suit-case with a few rags that I had left and 
went on foot to the Highland Railroad station 
where I changed the five-dollar bill and bought 
a ticket to New York. Arriving in the city I 
went directly to my aunt's, who was surprised 
to see me so poorly clad and in such a miserable 
condition. I told her that I had had a quarrel 
with my employer because he had not paid me. 

"On June 2nd, while walking about my busi- 
ness, I met Cecala at Bleecker and Carmine 
Streets. He laughed at me, shook my hand, 
and inquired why I had not remained at the stone 
house in Highland and continued the work. 

" 'I could not continue,' I replied, 'because I 
was treated too shabbily there by the others. 



SOME CONFESSIONS 145 

And why should I continue to work when no 
word had come to us from New York for more 
than two weeks V 

" 'Well, Don Antonio,' said Cecala, 'I will fix 
all your affairs so that Caterina will remain in 
New York, for you and Don Peppe must con- 
tinue the work. The man who made the plates 
has been working on another set of Canadian 
notes, not like the first that we printed, but of 
the same denomination, five dollars.' 

" 'Write and let Caterina come now,' I said. 
'As to my doing more work for you, let's talk 
about that later.' 

" 'It is not necessary to write ; I will telephone. 
Come with me.' From a drug store at Carmine 
and Bleecker Streets Cecala telephoned to High- 
land, or rather to Cina's house. 

"Cina's wife said that her husband had gone 
with Ignazio (Lupo) to Newburgh and that she 
would tell him when he returned. Coming out 
of the drug store Cecala handed me ten dollars, 
saying: 

" 'Take this ten dollars and find rooms for 
yourself. I will provide for the rest later when 
Caterina comes to-morrow or the next day. 



146 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

Your things will arrive in a few days.' He told 
me to keep him advised. I could meet him at a 
barber shop in Carmine Street, he said. 

"Not seeing anything of Caterina, on June 
4th I wrote a letter to Cina at Highland, and 
requested him to send my things immediately 
and to give Caterina the money for her fare to 
New York. 

"Cina received my letter and got the impres- 
sion from it that I was going to tell the police, 
and he went right over to the stone house to 
ship my furniture. 

"On the fifth of June, in the evening, Don 
Peppe (Calichio) came to my aunt's house and 
there told me that he had run away from the 
stone house with Caterina because they had 
threatened to kill him. He said that the threats 
were made by Sylvester, Giglio and Bernardo. 
Hearing this I hastened out on the stoop and 
saw Caterina all trembling. She said: 'I don't 
know how we escaped — Don Peppe and me.' 

" 'Why?' 

" 'Bernardo, Sylvester and Giglio wanted to 
kill us; and Bernardo had already got hold of 
a shovel to dig a hole.' 

" 'And who gave you the money for the fare?' 



SOME CONFESSIONS 147 

" 'Lupo.' 

" 'How much did he give you?' 

" 'He gave ten dollars to Don Peppe in the 
presence of Cina, Uncle Vincent, and the other 
men, whom I do not know, and he gave me five 
dollars.' 

" 'Well,' I said, 'to-night you will sleep at my 
brother's home, and do not tell him any stories 
nor let him understand the circumstances of our 
trouble. To-morrow I will find a house. Ce- 
cala gave me ten dollars the other day.' 

"I thanked Calichio for getting Caterina out 
of the stone house to New York, and then went 
away leaving Caterina at the home of my 
brother." 



CHAPTER XVI 

EVADING THE GANG IN VAIN 

"On June 6th I rented some rooms at No. 
171 Thompson Street and paid for a month in 
advance. I then wert to the barber shop to 
find Cecala. I told him of hiring the rooms and 
that I needed a deposit to have the gas turned 
on. He told me th^ t he would look out for 
everything in a day or so when he had the time. 
He showed a receipt for my goods, which had 
been shipped from Highland the day before and 
which would soon arrive, he said. He gave me 
five dollars with which to pay the charges on 
my furniture when it would arrive. When I 
asked him how I was to get food, he handed me 
a card and said that I was to go to the address 
and say that he sent me and that provisions 
would be furnished me. On the card was D. 
Milone, No. 235 East Ninety-seventh Street. 

" 'Will I get what I want there?* 

148 



EVADING THE GANG IN VAIN 119 

" 'Certainly,' Cecala said. 'Just mention my 
name and all will be well with you there.' 

"After arranging with an express company to 
have my goods taken from the dock to the 
Thompson Street rooms, I went to the MiJone 
address and asked for Cecala. 

" 'Who is this Cecala?' inquired a sJjffrt man 
of ruddy complexion and stout face. 

" 'Why, don't you know him?' I askf \ 'He 
gave me this address where I was to t xne and 
buy groceries.' 

" 'Have you inquired in the bank downstairs?' 

" 'No.' 

" 'Go and see.' 

"I went down to the bank of one De Luca 
and found a barrel containing groceries ad- 
dressed to Luigi Cosentino. This I had brought 
to my rooms in Thompson Street. 

" 'You must pay sixty cents,' said the banker, 
'right away.' And Cecala paid the money for 
me. 

"Going upstairs again Cecala said in the pres- 
ence of Giglio and Sylvester: 

" 'Don Antcnio, we must continue the work. 
Not in that place (the stone house), but in an- 
other farm that has been rented by Giglio and 



150 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

that is very far from Highland. We will not 
work any more with the same press because it is 
not very good as to impression. We must buy 
a new press, which Calichio is negotiating for 
now, a new model.' 

" 'I will not come again/ I replied, 'because I 
have found work as a compositor and I am to go 
to work to-morrow.' 

" 'Don't begin to make trouble. You know 
all our secrets now and we can't let you go.' 

" 'But why don't you let Calichio continue 
the work?' 

" 'Calichio is no good at the press. You know 
of what he is capable.' 

" 'I cannot go,' I repeated. 

" 'Listen, Don Antonio, I promise you that 
you will not work much. Print at least the other 
ten-thousand sheets of paper for two-dollar notes 
and the work will be completed. Then we will 
suspend operations for the summer, and will be- 
gin again in the Fall.' 

" 'Mr. Cecala, I will return to print the paper 
that is left, but you must give me, at the be- 
ginning of August, $400 because I want to re- 
turn to Italy; then I will come back to New 
York in November. Are you satisfied?' 



EVADING THE GANG IN VAIN 151 

" 'Have no doubts as to that. By the first 
two weeks of August I will give you $500 and 
not $400, because by that time I will have sold 
all the money. But will you return to America?' 

" 'Yes, because I am going to Italy only to 
arrange family affairs.' 

"Calichio now arrived and said that he had 
found the party who wanted to sell the press, 
and he suggested that I go and see the man. At 
this juncture Giglio interrupted to say that the 
press, which we had been using, had been broken 
up and thrown into the woods on the farm that 
had just been rented in his name for the new 
location of the plant. 

" 'But,' put in Calichio, 'is that farm a place 
that is at all likely to be suspected?' 

" 'Certainly not,' said Giglio, 'it is far from 
Highland, about three hours over the road, and 
is situated on the Hudson River. It is a frame 
house standing by itself so that in working there 
will be no noise heard by neighbors. And there 
is no road where people pass by the house.' 

" 'You mean,' Cecala interrupted, 'that you 
can work without fear of being disturbed?' 

" 'Not even the flies will disturb us.' 

" 'Good,' said Cecala, turning to me. 'Go and 



152 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

see this Riso (the pressman) and see if he really 
wants to sell the press/ 

" 'Why should I go and not some one else?' 

" 'You are of the trade and know whether 
there are any defects.' 

" 'And if he asks me who I am, what shall I 
answer?' 

" 'Tell him you are Cosentino and have a shop 
on One Hundred and Fortieth Street.' 

" 'Why don't you come with me?' 

" 'No,' said Cecala, 'I will wait here.' 

" 'It would be better that you come along. 
Two heads are better than one.' 

"Cecala was persuaded and together we went 
to the printing shop to look over the presses. 
Riso, the pressman, said that he wanted to sell 
the press because he had not enough work to 
keep it occupied and was short fifty dollars to 
pay off the mortgage. He explained that in 
order to sell it he must first get permission from 
the factory people, who held the mortgage. He 
bought it about eight months previously. 

"A price of $85 was agreed to. 

" 'But,' queried Riso, 'what do you need the 
press for?' 



EVADING THE GANG IN VAIN 153 

" 'For a printing shop,' I replied. 

" 'And have you a shop now?' 

" 'Yes.' 

"'Where?' 

"I gave him the One Hundred and Fortieth 
Street address suggested by Cecala before we 
entered the printing shop. 

"Riso assured me that the press was first class 
and would turn out fine work. 

"On June 10th, the next day, the press was 
paid for and carted off in a covered wagon. I 
had taken the press apart without arousing sus- 
picion that it was to be taken on a long jour- 
ney. The parts were taken off because of the 
danger of leaving them on the press body while 
in shipment. On the sides of the closed wagon 
was the name of Antonio Armato, Bakery. The 
man who drove it was introduced to me by Giglio 
as his godfather. Giglio explained that the 
press was to be carted on godfather's wagon be- 
cause he had been unable to get an express wagon 
at the moment. 

"In order to keep up the bluff before Riso I 
said to Giglio: 

" 'Well, it is just as well. You know where 



154 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

my shop is and can have this man take the press 
there. I will remain downtown and attend to 
other matters while you take the press uptown/ 
Cecala squinted at me admiringly. 

"On the 13th of June Cecala informed me that 
I was to be ready to go to Highland at six o'clock 
the next morning. I was to go to Cina's house 
and remain there a day, he said, and then I 
would be taken to the new farm. He told me 
that the press had been shipped and taken to 
the house by Sylvester, who had returned to New 
York. Cecala also said that he had given Ca- 
lichio ten dollars with which to pay the fares 
and that I was to meet Don Peppe (Calichio) 
at his Jones Street house early the next morn- 
ing and then board the train in company with 
him. Money would be forwarded to me as soon 
as I reached Highland; Cecala had none with 
him at the present. 

" 'I hope you will not treat me as you did be- 
fore,' I said. 'Promise to pay and not pay.' 

"'Have no doubt. I will take in $200 to- 
night from a man in Brooklyn, and will send 
you ten dollars by Giglio.' 

"Cecala said Giglio was in New York then 
at the house of his (Giglio's) brother-in-law in 



EVADING THE GANG IN VAIN 155 

Jackson Street. This brother-in-law had mar- 
ried one of Cina's sisters, but he knew nothing 
about the counterfeiting scheme. 

"At five o'clock in the morning of June 14th 
I went to Calichio's house and found him pack- 
ing a suit-case with inks and plates. One of 
the sets I remember was the Bank of Montreal 
design with a baby on the green side, marvel- 
ously clear zinc plates. Calichio told me they 
were to be used for making the new Canadian 
five-dollar notes. 

" 'When are they to be printed?' I asked. 

" 'When we get to the new farm/ 

"I told Calichio that I certainly would not 
print any of them at this season and he suggested 
that they probably were to be printed in Novem- 
ber. He said: 

" 'They will probably be printed in Novem- 
ber, at the beginning of the winter season, for 
now the waters are troubled. The police is mak- 
ing arrests daily.' 

"He placed the plates in the suit-case and to- 
gether we went to Weehawken Ferry and ar- 
rived in Highland at 11 A. M. There found 
Peppino waiting for us at the station with a 
carriage. He drove to his brother's house 



156 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

(Cina's). There we found Uncle Vincent and 
Bernardo, the others having gone to Pough- 
keepsie on business and left word that they would 
return by evening. After lunch I played with 
Cina's children while Calichio, Uncle Vincent, 
Bernardo and Peppino locked themselves into a 
room for a conference. About 8 P. M. Salva- 
tor Cina returned from Poughkeepsie with Syl- 
vester and immediately ordered his brother to 
prepare the horse and carriage and take us to 
the 'Third' farm." 



CHAPTER XVII 

CAUGHT AGAIN! 

"About two o'clock in the morning we ar- 
rived, Calichio, Bernardo, Sylvester, Peppino 
and Cina, at the 'Third' farm. Peppino re- 
turned immediately from the 'Third' farm to 
Cina's house. The four of us who remained 
slept on straw, there being no mattresses. About 
three o'clock the next afternoon Cina brought 
us some mattresses, pillows and covers; some 
food-stuffs and ten quarts of wine. Cina re- 
marked that this was a splendid place, and that 
no one could disturb us there. He gave the fol- 
lowing orders: 

"Calichio and I were to remain in the house 
and work. Uncle Vincent would watch along 
the railroad track to see if any strangers came 
near. About noontime, Uncle Vincent would 
come in and do the cooking; then Bernardo, 
armed with revolver and rifle, were to do his 
turn and guard the farm. He was to be helped 

157 



158 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

in this by Giglio and Sylvester whenever they 
were about. Cina said that if Calichio or I 
wanted to have our mail addressed to us we 
must tell our folks and friends to send it to 
20 Duane Street, Poughkeepsie, where Uncle 
Turi (the well-dressed man referred to before 
in this story) had opened a grocery store. Cina 
assurec me that news would be brought to us 
daily from the outside and that a horse and car- 
riage had been brought for the express purpose 
of going to and from Poughkeepsie and bring- 
ing groceries. 

"Calichio made the press ready and we began 
work on the fourth batch of the two-dollar 
notes. There was no interruption all that day 
but, on the next morning, June 17th (1909), 
Calichio declared he wanted to leave for New 
York because he had had a bad dream during 
the night and there was news from his family. 

"Bernardo accompanied Calichio to the sta- 
tion and I and Uncle Vincent remained alone, 
walking about the grounds in front of the house. 

"About 11 A. M. Uncle Vincent was pre- 
paring maccaroni for the noonday lunch when 
two well-dressed men and prosperous appearing, 
driving a horse and carriage, stopped in front 



CAUGHT AGAIN! 159 

of the house. One man was about fifty, the 
other about thirty. They tied the horse to a 
tree and came over to me, addressing me in 
English. 

" 'Are you Italian?' 

" 'Yes,' I replied. 

" 'Have you rented this farm?' 

" 'No.' 

" 'Who is the owner?' 

" 'A man named Giglio.' 

" 'Where can I see this Giglio?' 

" 'In New York. His wife is sick,' replied 
Uncle Vincent. 

" 'When does he return?' 

" 'We don't know.' 

" 'We had come to buy this farm and would 
like to look inside. Will you permit us to en- 
ter and see?' 

" 'No,' was Uncle Vincent's instant answer. 
'We are not the proprietors and are here to guard 
the fruit. Return some other day when Giglio 
is here and he will give you permission.' 

"The men assured us that they would get the 
permission to enter the house and drove away. 
When they were gone Uncle Vincent with a pale 
face said to me: 



160 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

" 'Don Antonio, I feel sure these men are 
detectives. Should they return there will be 
others with them and they will arrest us. In 
case we fall like mice in a trap don't say who 
you know. Otherwise we are all ruined. If 
they find the press we must insist that we found 
it in the house, and don't know to whom it be- 
longs. Let us go and burn what was printed 
yesterday in order to avoid suspicion.' 

" 'I am not going back,' I answered. 'I am 
going through the woods to the railroad tracks 
to the station and then back to New York.' 

" 'If you go away I will not let any one come 
near the house. And if those two men return 
I will kill them.' 

" 'Do as you like,' I replied. So saying I 
took my hat and jumper and walked along the 
railroad tracks for about an hour until I came 
to the Highland station. 

"I was peacefully at home in Thompson 
Street on June 20th when Cecala, Cina and Syl- 
vester arrived. As soon as Cecala saw me he 
said: 

" 'You were very much afraid. You must 
not be so frightened. The people who came to 
the farm were men of a good sort and not de- 



CAUGHT AGAIN! 161 

tectives. But you did well in not letting them 
enter the house.' 

" 'Since I am away,' I replied to Cecala, 'do 
not talk of continuing the work. I will not re- 
turn. I don't care to fall into a trap alone, 
and you all out of it.' 

" 'Better if we remain out. We can help 
you.' 

" 'Bother the help. Leave me in peace. I 
want to attend to my own affairs and be at rest.' 

" 'No. Now that we have started to print we 
must finish the paper that is left unprinted.' 

" 'I will not return to the farm. Make Ca- 
lichio continue the work.' 

"'You must return and complete the work/ 
said Cina with arrogance. 

"After about five minutes of silence Cina again 
did the talking. He said: 

" 'Very well, we will not return to that farm 
but in order to have you content we will draw 
up a contract and you will appear as Luigi 
Cosentino, the proprietor of the second farm. 
Then you may return and continue the work 
without danger. I will telephone to-night and 
have the press brought to the stone house. The 
people nearby the stone house have seen you be- 



162 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

fore, and when I tell them that the place is now 
yours they will not have any suspicion.' 

" 'I want to find work here in the city. I have 
worked for you for seven months and have re- 
ceived only forty dollars in all for it.' 

" 'Well,' said Cecala, 'but I will give you 
five hundred dollars as soon as you have finished 
this last job. Is that satisfactory?' 

" 'Surely.' 

"I figured that if I got the five hundred dol- 
lars I could return to Italy and not have any 
more bother, and so I consented to go back and 
complete the work. Cecala and Cina went with 
me to a notary public in Elizabeth Street and a 
contract or lease of the second farm was drawn 
up. I appeared and signed as Luigi Cosentino. 
The person from whom I rented the farm was 
one whom I had never seen before. He was 
called Salvatore Galasso. The notary gave a 
copy of the paper to me and another to Galasso, 
and Cecala paid the charges. 

"On June 24th (1909) I and Calichio began 
work anew on the second farm, at the stone house, 
and continued until we had finished $13,500 more 
of the two-dollar notes. When this amount was 
printed, Calichio went to New York and left 



CAUGHT AGAIN! 163 

me with Uncle Vincent, Bernardo and Giglio 
to cut to regular size the two-dollar notes and 
count them and pack them in bundles of 100 
each. This work was done during the month 
of July. 

"On the 28th or the 29th of July Cina arrived 
and stopped all the work, saying that operations 
were suspended for the summer. The last lot 
printed, he said, was to be divided among fifteen 
of us. Cecala had left about twenty days be- 
fore, and as no word had been received from him 
it was supposed that he had been arrested. 
Turning to me Cina said: 

" 'You, Don Antonio, divide up the money 
for fifteen persons, and see what will come to 
each. Each can sell for himself or exchange 
them.' 

" 'I will not take any of them, that is cer- 
tain,' I replied, 'because I have no friends to 
whom I can sell them. And what is more, I 
will risk imprisonment.' 

" 'That means that you will leave your por- 
tion to me, and in time I will sell it for you,' 
said Cina. 

" 'I don't want to know whether it is left to 
you or somebody else. Only, you will bear in 



164- THE BARREL MYSTERY 

mind that together with Cecala you have prom- 
ised $500 with which I was to go to Italy when 
this work was completed.' 

" 'Well, if Cecala returns and brings good 
money, you will be given what was promised you. 
In the meantime, dismantle the press and give 
me the plates, for I must save them. Put them 
in a box together with the ink that was not 
used.' 

"Without losing any time I took some boards 
and made a box and put into it the plates for 
the two-dollar notes, check letter 'C,' plate num- 
ber 1110; also the five-dollar copper plates, and 
the second Canadian note plates, which had not 
been used, and some cans of ink. I nailed a 
cover over the box, and in the presence of Uncle 
Vincent, Bernardo, Giglio and Cina, I gave the 
box to Cina and he said: 

" 'We hope to open this box in November if 
things go well.' 

"The first Canadian plates — those that had 
been used together with the first two-dollar note 
plates, Check letter 'A,' plate number 1111 — were 
wrapped in some rags and buried in a hole on 
the farm by Bernardo. The hole was about two 
hundred feet from the house in the woods back 



CAUGHT AGAIN! 165 

of the house. Then all the ink that remained 
outside was buried in the woods back of the 
house; so were all the hundred thousand pieces 
of paper of bad prints and proofs, etc., buried 
there. The inks, though, were put in a macaroni 
box before being put into the ground. 

"I dismantled the press, taking it into four 
parts, and packed it up in boards. At six o'clock 
that evening Peppino Cina came with a truck, 
pulled by a team of horses, and the press was 
loaded onto the truck ; also the box with the plates 
put on, and the whole business was covered with 
hay. Then Uncle Vincent, Bernardo and 
Giglio were driven off toward Cina's farm by 
Peppino Cina. Cina and I took another road in 
a carriage and went to his farm. 

"Arriving at Cina's farm at about 11:30 that 
night we sat down and ate heartily and drank 
wine. Towards the end of the meal Cina gave 
Peppino (his brother), Giglio and Bernardo 
each $800 of the counterfeit money, saying to 
them: 

" 'Boys, the work is done. From to-morrow 
on each can attend to his own business. You 
can take this money and exchange it yourselves. 

" 'If we are going to continue, and if we need 



166 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

you, I will advise you, paying you double what 
you can earn anywhere else.' 

"Hearing this I said to Cina: 

" 'See if you can't give me some money with 
which I may get to New York to-morrow, with- 
out my looking around for Cecala or anybody 
else; and also keep it in mind that by August 
15th I get the $500 so that I can go to Italy. If 
the money is not given me I will endeavor to 
get my passage to Italy and return in Novem- 
ber.' 

" 'Have no doubts about the money,' said Cina. 
'To-morrow I will give you five dollars. The 
money that has been promised you will be yours. 
In fact, I will bring it to your house as soon as 
we have it ready, as we know your address in 
New York.' 

"Next morning Cina gave me five dollars, and 
drove me to the Highland station, where I 
boarded the eight o'clock train for New York. 

"After being in the city three days I found 
employment in a printing shop in Brooklyn and 
worked there as an honest man, putting away 
all thoughts of evil and tried to forget what I 
had been through in Highland for the past nine 
months. 



CAUGHT AGAIN! 167 

"On August 12, 1909, I read in an Italian 
newspaper about the arrest of some persons who 
passed some of the notes printed by me. Think- 
ing that some one might mention my name, I 
wrote a letter to Cina, addressed to No. 20 Duane 
Street, Poughkeepsie, informing him that as I 
had not seen any one up to the present, and had 
not got what was promised me, I had decided to 
leave for Italy on August 15th. 

"Then I remained in Brooklyn working, with- 
out the gang knowing my whereabouts. My em- 
ployment for this period was in the printing shop 
of Matteo Vestuto. 

"One Sunday in September I met Calichio 
on the street. He told me that he was going 
to my house to get a suit of clothes that had 
been sent down from the stone house with my 
furniture. 

" 'Don Peppe,' said I, 'Caterina is at home 
and she will give you the suit which was put 
away. If you see any of the Gentlemen don't 
say that you saw me, because I have written 
them that I am in Italy.' 

" 'I have not seen them any more,' replied 
Calichio. 'Neither do I want to see them, after 
what I have been through. Bear in mind, Don 



168 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

Antonio, that I have not yet received all the 

money that is coming to me, but , if 

they come again to me, I know what to tell 

them .' He went off in a very angry 

mood. 

"On the 16th of November, 1909, I read in 
an Italian newspaper of the arrest of Giuseppe 
Morello, Antonio Cecala, Domenico Milone, 
Luciana Maddi, Giuseppe Boscarini and Leo- 
lina Vasi. They were all put under bail of 
from seven to fifteen thousand dollars. Three 
days later I read in the newspapers that all these 
'gentlemen,' whom I knew, were released on bail, 
and were at liberty awaiting trial. 

"I became frightened, thinking that these fel- 
lows might think that I had said something to 
the police as they knew I was dissatisfied with 
the treatment they had given me. Losing no 
time I packed my things and went to live with 
an American family in Dominick Street." 



CHAPTER XVIII 

PINCHING THE GREENHORN 

"I had been at this place about a month and 
a half when, on the night of January 4th, 1910, 
about eight o'clock, six men came into the house 
and, motioning me not to move, declared that 
I and Caterina were under arrest. 

" 'But who are you?' I asked in Italian. 

" 'We are government officers/ one of them 
replied in Italian, and he showed me his shield. 

" 'Well, the place is at your disposal,' I said, 
sitting down on a chair and smoking my pipe, 
feeling quite sure of myself. 

"When they had finished searching the rooms 
and us personally they brought Caterina and I 
to the office of the Federal Secret Service 
(United States Secret Service) and we were 
taken to the head of the service, a Mr. William 
J. Flynn. To him I had no courage to deny 
what I had done and confessed all. I assumed 
all the responsibility for Caterina, and told 

169 



170 THE BARREL' MYSTERY 

everything without any thought of getting off 
without punishment. Following my arrest the 
Secret Service men arrested Cina, Giglio, Uncle 
Salvatore, Sylvester and Lupo. On January 
26th, 1910, Ignazio Lupo, Giuseppe Morello, 
Antonio Cecala, Salvatore Palermo, Giuseppe 
Calichio and Nick Sylvester appeared before the 
Judge of the United States Court to answer the 
indictment of making and passing counterfeit 
money. 

"I appeared before the jury in the Federal 
Court as a witness, repeating what I had con- 
fessed to the Secret Service men. I did not con- 
tradict myself on cross-examination when the 
defense tried to show that I was a Calabrian 
bandit and had come to America for the purpose 
of joking with the law and justice, and that I 
was telling these 'stories' and thus having eight 
innocent and perfect gentlemen condemned. 

"I was not disturbed at the assault made upon 
my character by the ignorant Italian press, who 
through libels and threats of many kinds tried 
to shake my determination. I only laughed 
when I read and heard of those things. 

"The Black-Hand crowd should be destroyed. 
The one great blow that started the downfall 



PINCHING THE GREENHORN 171 

of this murderous band of outlaws has been 
dealt by William J. Flynn, when he sent to 
prison the arch-bandits Lupo and Morello, and 
the lesser evils, Cecala, Cina, Giglio, etc. 

"My final word here is that my purpose in 
giving testimony before the Secret Service was 
not done to have eight fathers of families con- 
demned, but for the purpose of removing from 
among us eight Sicilian criminals who horrified 
and preyed upon honest men under the leader- 
ship of murderers of the worst type that are a 
menace to civilization. 

" ( Signed) Antonio Viola Comito." 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE "BLACK-HAND" DOCTOR 

There are characters in this story of Comito's 
of whom he never got a glimpse until the case 
came to trial. There are still others involved of 
whom he never even heard; in fact, not a few 
big fish are in the net of the Secret Service whose 
names will probably never be revealed to the 
public. This circumstance does not prevent me, 
however, from surrounding Comito's statement 
with certain additional facts that may serve to 
illuminate the plan followed by Lupo and 
Morello in building up their sinister organiza- 
tion. 

It often happens that disputes occur among 
the different elements of the Italian criminals 
in New York city and in other parts of this 
countiy. For instance, the Neapolitan element 
deals almost exclusively in the traffic of women. 
Sometimes this business is invaded by a hostile 
group from among the Sicilian element. In- 

172 



THE "BLACK-HAND" DOCTOR 173 

variably quarrels result and the disputes nearly 
always end in a shooting or a stabbing affair. 

It is well known to the Service that the quar- 
rels of the Italian criminals among themselves 
are settled without the help of the police when- 
ever this is at all possible. When a gang mem- 
ber is wounded, secrecy requires that no am- 
bulance be called or a doctor summoned who 
is not a friend of the gang. This precaution is 
easily appreciated when one comes to think that 
a call for an ambulance would require the pres- 
ence of a policeman and a public report being 
made of the affair. Again, should a doctor, who 
is not known to the gang, be called in, he is re- 
quired to make a record of the occurrence and 
report any suspicious injury to the police. If 
there is a death the coroner must needs be noti- 
fied. To avoid entanglement and trouble with 
the authorities the various gangs have impressed 
in their service a physician or two who may be 
relied upon to bind up the wounds and keep 
the affair a secret. Many murders are in this 
way covered up and escape the attention of the 
police and the public. 

There was a man at the trial of the counter- 
feiters who was unknown to Comito. Upon this 



174 THE BARREL MYSTERY; 

man's testimony Morello expected to prove that 
he was ill in the house during the period that 
he was actually out and around and very active 
in the counterfeiting scheme. 

Dr. Salvatore Romano is the man. The doc- 
tor perjured himself and testified to please Mo- 
rello, whose vengeance he feared. 

After being indicted by the Federal Grand 
Jury, we were able to get a statement from Dr. 
Romano. Incidentally this statement disclosed 
the method whereby Morello and Lupo gathered 
their first money by sending "Black-Hand" let- 
ters to countrymen who were suspected of hav- 
ing money, or who could in any way be coerced 
into being useful to the gang. 

Dr. Romano's cross-examination follows: 

Q. Tell us, doctor, from the beginning, how 
you happened to get mixed up; start from the 
time you knew Mr. Morello. 

A. I met him in this country. He was liv- 
ing m East One Hundred and Seventh Street; 
we were living at East One Hundred and Sixth 
Street. He comes from the same town that my 
grandmother and mother hail from in Sicily — 
Corleone — and while I was studying in my third 
year at the College of Physicians and Surgeons 



THE "BLACK-HAND" DOCTOR 175 

at Columbia, my folks received a letter from a 
"Black-Hand" Society. 

Q. Who received it? 

A. My mother. 

Q. She knew Morello how long previous to 
this? 

A. She had known him on the other side; 
never had anything to do with him here. 

Q. About when was it she got this "Black- 
Hand" letter? 

A. Seven years ago; I was a third-year stu- 
dent in the College of Physicians and Surgeons. 

Q. What was the substance of the letter? 

A. The substance of the letter was that un- 
less a certain amount of money was paid they 
would kill me. Naturally, my folks did not tell 
me anything at all about it for fear that I would 
get excited, neglect my studies, and so fail in 
my examinations. The folks kept the thing 
quiet for a few days. The "Black Handers" 
also said that if anything were told to the police 
authorities, the murder would take place anyway 
— money or no money. You see, my father was 
not here. I was a young man, my brother was 
a small boy, and my family did not know what 
to do at the time. My grandmother, though, 



176 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

knew this man Morello to be mixed up with peo- 
ple of questionable character, and so she went 
to him or he happened to meet her ( I don't know 
which) ; anyway, she confided the thing to Mo- 
rello. He said, "All right, don't get excited; 
they don't kill people off all at once. Wait un- 
til you get another letter. Then we will see if 
we can find out the party who writes those let- 
ters. 

Finally, another letter was written. Then a 
third, and a fourth letter came. Morello always 
took the letters under the pretext of studying 
the handwriting and to find out the origin of 
the letter. Eventually, he found out the origin 
of the letter, he said and — 

Q. What was the origin? 

A. Never found out. He just said that he 
had found out that they were willing to settle 
for $1,000, but that he would pay $100 and that 
he would make sure they returned the money 
to him after they found out who he was; he said 
that we need not worry any more. 

Q. Did you pay the $100? 

A. No. Morello offered to pay the $100 
himself and expected to get it back. He said: 
"I will pay and see that they return it to me." 



THE "BLACK-HAND" DOCTOR 177 

Q. Who would return it ? 

A. Those people would return the money 
again to him. 

Q. He said that he would pay the money 
and that he would get it back from the Black 
Handers ? 

A. Yes. Then the whole thing quieted down 
and naturally my people thought they were un- 
der obligations to this man Morello. And then 
when the danger was over my folks told me 
about it and remarked about what a terrible thing 
we had escaped. 

About three or four months later, Morello 
came around and said to my mother: 

Q. Did you hear him? 

A. No. She told me. 

(Continuing) "I have a notion to get mar- 
ried. I'm in with a woman who has a baby as 
the result of our relations. Now that I want 
to get married, I want to break off this rela- 
tion, and if it is not inconvenient to you I would 
like to bring this baby, this little girl, to your 
house until everything is arranged." 

Q. That is the illegitimate child? 

A. She could walk; was over one year old. 

Q. Who was the woman? 



178 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

A. I do not know. 

Q. At that time he lived on Chrystie Street? 

A. No. I understand he had a restaurant. 
Of course, my folks said that it was no trouble 
for them. There were three or four women in 
the household, and it would be no trouble for 
them to take care of the little child. 

Q. All the time you thought that you were 
under obligations to him? 

A. Yes; just for that thing. 

Q. Don't you know who the woman was? 

A. No ; never saw her. 

Q. Sure you didn't? 

A. No. 

Q. Do you know her? 

A. No, she was a Sicilian. I don't know her 
personally. 

Q. Is she living? 

A. I imagine she is. 

Q. What was her name? What was she 
called? 

A. Didn't know at all. Probably my grand- 
mother would know. 

Q. Was this after or before the barrel mur- 
der? 

A. I think the barrel murder was after that. 



THE "BLACK-HAND" DOCTOR 179 

Q. He lived on Chrystie Street at that time? 

A. Yes. And so the baby was brought to 
our house and we took care of it, a nice little 
baby. Nothing happened at all — no disturbance. 
They came around to our house about once a 
week to see the baby. I kept on studying; 
never bothered my head about anything at all. 
I went out early in the morning and came back 
late; never bothered much with the affairs of 
the family. That baby died. First it got the 
measles, then bronchial pneumonia. It was a 
little over two years old when it died. 

Q. Did Morello marry this woman? 

A. The woman he married is his present wife. 
He had got her from the other side. The sis- 
ter (Morello's) had gone to the other side and 
arranged for this marriage. So nothing hap- 
pened until after I was graduated. Then these 
people began to call on me as a doctor. 

Q. He then lived in East One Hundred and 
Seventh Street? 

A. I think in East One Hundred and Sev- 
enth Street, and he began to call on me; and 
then the brother-in-law and then cousin, etc., 
called. 

Q. Who is his brother-in-law? 



180 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

A. He has three brothers-in-law, Lupo, 
Lima and Salima. 

Q. Which one of his brothers-in-law did you 
treat? 

A. I treated all three of them. 

Q. Are Lima and Salima in this country 
now? 

A. Yes, in New York City. 

Q. And did you treat other relatives? 

A. I treated all their relatives, and all free 
of charge. They would call me; I would ex- 
amine them, prescribe, etc., but I got no pay. 

Q. Did you ever ask them for any? 

A. No. 

Q. Why not? 

A. On account of the obligations; also the 
familiarity. Right from the start I thought that 
I was doing a wise thing not to ask for money 
for my services. 

Q. What did you know about Morello about 
that time? 

A. My folks had told him all about those let- 
ters and he had fixed it all up; we had no dis- 
turbance because we were under his protection. 

Q. Did you know that you were under his 
protection? 



THE "BLACK-HAND" DOCTOR 181 

A. I knew as well as the family did. 

Q. What protection did you think that he 
could give you? 

A. Receiving no disturbance from the "Black 
Handers." 

Q. Did you know that he was connected with 
the "Black kanders" then? 

A. I did not know that he was a "Black 
Hander," but I knew from the fact that he had 
arranged everything that he must have known 
something about these people. 

Thus I became the regular physician for these 
people and never got any pay. In the mean- 
time I tried to get as much hospital experience 
as I could and get out of New York, because, 
if a man goes out of New York to a strange 
place without any experience — 

Q. Why did you want to leave New York? 

A. Not because I was afraid, not because 
they were doing anything to me, but because I 
was tired of doing work for nothing; I never 
could put any money in the bank. 

The whole number of relatives, babies and 
patients, amounted to about sixty. It would not 
be one day, but the next day, and all the time 
they were on my hands. And I got no pay. 



182 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

My mother was in the same position. My 
mother is a midwife. I tried to get hospital ex- 
perience, and as soon as I was in the position 
to leave New York I departed, and I have never 
heard from him at all except when I received 
letters from my mother who told me that they 
kept on frequenting the house. 

Q. What was the interview you had with 
Commissioner Wood? x And when did you have 
that interview? 

A. That was four or five years before I left 
New York. The main thing he wanted to know 
was whether I knew these people well enough 
to tell stories. Whether I could tell him that 
these people were "Black Handers"? 

I had read in the newspapers that they had 

i Commissioner Wood was at the time referred to here the 
Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the Detective Bu- 
reau of New York under Theodore Bingham. It was Wood who 
sent Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino to Italy on the mission, in the 
carrying out of which the Lieutenant was assassinated. In refer- 
ence" to this murdering of Petrosino, who was the man who went 
to Sing Sing and got information from DePriema, which led to 
the identifying of the man murdered and found in the barrel, I 
wish to refer the reader back to that part of Cbmito's statement 
where Comito tells of his visit to Morello's house in East One 
Hundred and Thirty-eighth Street, and especially to take note of 
the reference there made by Comito to "Michele, the Calabrian," 
and the conversation that took place between Morello and Cecala 
concerning the Calabrian. Then couple this with the reference 
made again to the Calabrian by Lupo (Page 113) in paying 
Michele's fare to Italy. 



THE "BLACK-HAND" DOCTOR 183 

been in trouble with the law ; but they had treated 
me fairly well and I said nothing against these 
people. Commissioner Wood wanted to know 
about these letters, and naturally I did not 
tell. 

Q. Did you treat Cecala? 

A. No, I never treated him. 

Q. Did you ever treat any of the defendants 
besides Morello? 

A. No. Lupo, Morello and Palermo. Pa- 
lermo was operated on for something. At the 
time I was called in to give the ether. 

Q. What was Morello's business after he 
gave up the grocery? 

A. Real estate; then they started the real 
estate deal, the Ignatz Florio Association. The 
way they worked that was — I don't know how 
many got together, about nine or ten, and they 
started in by building a house and selling it — 
they said, "We will build a house and sell it and 
in that way there will be a big profit and from 
that profit we get dividends." They got people 
to buy shares; the shares were payable, I think, 
$5 down and $2 per month. So they came to 
my mother and she bought one share for herself, 
one in the name of my brother, and one in my 



184 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

name. When they got enough money they 
bought a lot, built a house and sold it, and got a 
dividend of 40 per cent. You could then either 
take the dividend, and put the money in your 
pocket, or leave it and it would go on the share. 
So most of the people left their money to go to 
their credit. 

Q. Who got the money? 

A. They claimed there was a big boom in 
real estate and they made another deal; they 
got 35 or 30 per cent, dividend. Then they 
started to build eight tenement houses, four on 
One Hundred and Thirty-seventh Street and 
four on One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Street, 
near Cyprus Avenue. 

At the time they were building, the crash came. 

They took advantage of the prices and said, 
"We have not enough money to keep on; the 
shareholders will have to come together and pay 
more money on each share." 

I paid $10 extra on each share. At that time 
my mother had acquired eight shares. She had 
bought another for herself. Then my cousin 
had bought two for herself, which she did not 
want to keep, so my mother told her she would 
buy them from her. 



THE "BLACK-HAND" DOCTOR 185 

Q. Did Morello know anything about your 
going to see Commissioner Wood; did you tell 
him? 

A. Yes. I— 

Q. What did you tell him? 

A. I said that Commissioner Wood, when he 
found out that I would not give the informa- 
tion he wanted, said that I was just like the rest 
of them and then told me that I might go. 

Q. Did you tell Morello before you went 
down? 

A. No. 

Q. What did Morello say when you told him 
that you had been down there? 

A. He said that is the way you have to do 
everything. 

Q. What do you know about the barrel mur- 
der? 

A. Absolutely nothing at all. 

Q. What do you know about Inzarillo? 

A. He is considered of questionable char- 
acter. 

Q. Do you know the Terranova Brothers? 

A. They are the stepbrothers of Morello. 

Q. Do you know anything about them? Did 
you treat them? 



186 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

A. Yes, quite a long while; they had a dis- 
ease which required that they come to my house 
every day, both Morello and the Terranovas. 

Q. When was that? 

A. That went on for about two years. 

Q. What two years ? 

A. The two years just preceding 1907 and 
1908. 

Q. Was Morello born with that deformed 
hand? 

A. Yes. He was so much crippled that they 
called him "Little Finger." 

Q. Then you did not treat Morello in 1909? 

A. At the time that I stated I did see him 
at No. 107 East One Hundred and Thirty- 
eighth Street; also, I saw him in Rizzo's house, 
and he would complain of pains ; he was always 
complaining. 

Q. He was not sick in bed? 

A. No. 

Q. You did not have any consultation with 
Dr. Brancato? 

A. No. I think that I may have had one 
consultation with him when he was at One Hun- 
dred and Thirty-eighth Street. 

Q. When? 



THE "BLACK-HAND" DOCTOR 187 

A. I think it was before the time I covered. 
I think it was in December, 1908, also. 

Q. That means January and February? 

A. No. 

Q. He was not treating Morello? 

A. He was the family physician in a way. 

Q. What do you think of him? 

A. Dr. Brancato? I want to state the fact 
as honestly as if he were my brother. I think 
he was a figurehead, too. 

Q. Did he ever say about what he was go- 
ing to testify? 

A. He said we were up against a bad prop- 
osition. "Let us make our testimony as light as 
possible," he said. I asked him how we could 
avoid a thing of that kind. They would get us 
into trouble and we would have to stand for it. 

Q. Who came to you and told you that you 
would have to testify? 

A. Nobody; but this is the way it was done: 
They went to my mother and began to talk to 
her. 

Q. Who? 

A. Mrs. Morello and the mother of Morello 
and the brothers of Morello. So they went there 
and began to explain that they had got into very 



188 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

serious trouble. They also said that the only; 
way — 

Q. Who? 

A. That he could be possibly saved would be 
to produce an alibi. I was to say that he was 
not out at any time he was accused of being out. 
I was to understand that he was the wrong man 
mentioned in court. They explained to my 
mother that the police knew that Dr. Romano 
had been their physician. It would be only nat- 
ural that they call me; I could then testify that 
I was treating Morello at the time and he was 
unable to get out when, the charges alleged, Mo- 
rello was around and doing things in the coun- 
terfeiting plant. 

They explained to my mother that there was 
no other man that could be called, because no 
other man would be trusted. The police knew 
I was Morello's physician, they said. 

And then my mother asked them not to call 
me, that it would be putting me into trouble, and 
that I would have to abandon the business I had 
started. 

They told her that it was an absolute necessity 
that I come down from Rochester and testify. 
If I did not come, they said, Morello would be 



THE "BLACK-HAND" DOCTOR 189 

sentenced surely. "Naturally," they said, "we 
think if the doctor would come down, Morello 
will be free." 

So my mother wrote to me. "This is the last 
proposition they are going to give you," she said. 
"I think you cannot avoid coming down." 

Q. She wrote and told you about it? Have 
you got that letter? 

A. No. Naturally I would not keep a let- 
ter of that kind. I thought the matter over. I 
knew the character of the men I had to deal 
with. I knew that if I refused and Morello 
got a big sentence they would put the whole 
thing up to me. I thought of my mother down 
here going out and in at night, and I had some- 
thing to fear. Probably if it had been for my- 
self only I would not have considered it ; I would 
have looked at it differently. It seemed that I 
had no alternative in a case of this kind. They 
telegraphed me. 

Q. Who? 

A. The brothers Terranova. 

Q. What did they say? 

A. Be in New York to-morrow to appear 
in Court for the testimony of my brother. 

Q. When was that sent to you? When did 



190 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

you get the telegram? Was it a day or two 
before you came down? 

A. Yes, but I came down at once. The first 
time I came I remained here two days. Not be- 
ing called, and not being able to leave my busi- 
ness for such a long period, I rushed back to 
Rochester. 

Q. When did you come down again? 

A. One week later at the time the detectives 
were testifying. 

Q. And you came down later? Did you go 
to your mother's house? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Whom did you see there? 

A. Terranova, Nick Terranova. 

Q. What did he say to you? 

A. "I am very sorry to trouble you. I know 
what you are losing. I know that you are do- 
ing this for us, but it is absolutely necessary. 
You are in no danger at all" — he was all the 
time in the house — "there will be no danger for 
you; you will be all right." 

Q. Did he tell you what you had to say? 

A. He said, "How many times a week do 
you want to say that you saw him?" I answered 



THE "BLACK-HAND" DOCTOR 191 

once a week. "I want to make my testimony 
as light as possible," I told him, "so as not to 
get into trouble with the Court." He said that 
once a week was probably too little; "make it 
twice a week," he said. And I said, if I remem- 
ber rightly, I saw him twice a week. 

Q. Did he tell you the time and the period? 

A. He told me the period from the latter 
part of December to the early part of March. 
Of course I could not testify further than that. 

Q. Was Dr. Brancato there? 

A. I was all alone. 

Terranova said to me that when his brother 
(Morello) comes out of the Tombs I was to tell 
him just what I was going to testify to in Court. 
This in order to keep Morello from getting 
mixed up in his testimony, and also for the addi- 
tional purpose of keeping Morello's mind at ease 
in the courtroom. Terranova told me to come 
along with him, and he made me stand in the 
corner there until he (Morello) came out, and 
I was to say he had rheumatism. 

Q. He said that ; did Terranova tell Morello 
you were going to testify? 

A. We had arranged that. 



192 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

Q. When did you first see him? 

A. When they were bringing him down from 
the Tombs to the courtroom. 

Q. Did Terranova speak to Morello? 

A. Yes. He first spoke to Morello. 

Q. And he told him that you were willing 
to testify for that period? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Then what did you say to Morello? 

A. "I am going to testify for you, that you 
had rheumatism for that period, from the lat- 
ter part of December to the first part of March." 

Q. Up to the time you left for Rochester? 

A. Yes. He said, "Don't fear; we are out; 
there is no danger at all; you need not fear, and 
I tell you that I was not out of the house at 
all; nobody saw me and nobody will know the 
difference, because I was as pale as a ghost at 
the time." 

Q. They did not know we had eight men 
watching them at the time — 

A. I came the first time, was here two days 
and was not called; I hung around the Court 
and finally had to go back to Rochester and look 
after my business. 

Q. When did you first see Dr. Brancato? 



THE "BLACK-HAND" DOCTOR 193 

A. The second time I came down to New 
York. 

Q. Did you know that he was going to tes- 
tify too? 

A. Terranova told me — 

Q. What did he say? 

A. "He is going to testify that you were in 
consultation." Terranova took me from the 
courthouse here to Dr. Brancato. 

Q. That is Nick Terranova? 

A. Yes. 

Q. What did you do down in Brancato's of- 
fice? 

A. We simply agreed as to what we were 
going to say; that is the time Dr. Brancato told 
me "we are up against it." 

Q. On the quiet? 

A. On the quiet. 

Q. Was Terranova there? 

A. He was in the outside room. 

Q. Did he tell you how you would fix it up 
— he did not treat Morello? 

A. No. Morello was not sick; he had no 
rheumatism, but complained all the time of pains. 

Q. Did Dr. Brancato tell you he had not 
treated him? 



194 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

A. We did not argue about that. It was 
understood. 

Q. It was understood that you had to swear 
falsely? 

A. Because we could not do otherwise! So 
they came to me principally because I was his 
regular physician and they got Dr. Brancato — 

Q. To come in after you went to Rochester? 

A. I do not know what Dr. Brancato said. 

Q. Do you know Maria Capellano; she is no 
relation to you? 

A. Who? 

Q. The trained nurse who said she treated 
him? 

A. No. 

Q. Do you know Gasparo Candido, the drug- 
gist on One Hundred and Forty-ninth Street, 
now at No. 23 New Bowery? 

A. No. 

Q. Did you ever have any conversation with 
Mrs. Morello? 

A. No — the only conversation I had with her 
was — "Please do that for the love of the chil- 
dren; try and help my husband." 

Q. Where did you have that conversation? 

A. She came to my house. 



THE "BLACK-HAND" DOCTOR 195 

Q. You fixed the whole thing up with the 
Terranova boys? 

A. With Nick. 

Q. What happened after you got through 
testifying? 

A. I rushed hack to Rochester. 

Q. Have you heard from them since you 
have been indicted? 

A. My mother told the whole crowd that she 
would have nothing to do with them; didn't care 
what the consequences would be. She said: 
"You have ruined my son; the last good thing 
you have done for us." They said to her, 
"Don't worry, everything will be all right." 

She said: "I don't care how it goes; I don't 
want to see you any more." 

Q. Did you hear anything about the alibi 
that you were going to establish for Cecala? 

A. I heard something when I was in the 
lawyer's office. 

Q. Were you down in the lawyer's office 
at all? 

A. Twice. He said: "What is your testi- 
mony to be?" I told him, and he said all right. 

Q. The only lawyer you ever saw? 

A. Yes. 



196 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

Q. Terranova was the one who had all the 
conversation? 

A. Nick, yes. He did the telegraphing. 

Q. How did he sign the telegram? 

A. Terranova. 

Q. Did not sign Nicholas? 

A. No, I don't think he did. 

Q. He was down in Towns' x office? 

A. He was; he never left me a minute. 

Q. What conversation did you have with 
Ponticelli? 

A. Only that I got there before he did. I 
was introduced to him here. 

Q. By whom? 

A. I do not recall. 

Q. He is a friend of Morello's? 

A. I think he was; lived downtown; they 
were neighbors. 

Q. Did you not have a store up there? 
[Rochester.] 

A. No. I went away from New York with 
a druggist. 

Q. His name? 

A. Bisconti. He went out there [Roches- 
ter] for the purpose of setting up a drug store, 

iMirabeau L. Towns, attorney for the gang. 



L THE "BLACK-HAND" DOCTOR 197 

and I to set up an office. Naturally, I would 
be doing business with him. If I had any pa- 
tients he would fill out the prescriptions. We 
proposed to help one another. We could not 
set up the drug store right away, so I rented 
my office to him and kept some medicines there; 
and I wrote my prescriptions and told the pa- 
tients, that if they wanted they could have the 
prescriptions filled out right in the house. That 
thing did not work because people would pay 
one dollar for the visit to me and sixty or sev- 
enty cents for the medicine, and they thought 
it was a scheme. I told Bisconti that as we had 
come to Rochester together I would help him all 
I could to set up a drug store there. This was 
when we parted. 

Q. How long have you known Bisconti? 

A. About three months. 

Q. Did any of the crowd ever give you 
checks to present at the bank? 

A. No. Ponticelli has a store with three or 
four men working. He came to me and asked 
if I could do him a favor. I had been there only 
two or three months. He said that he was do- 
ing much business and that as I was not doing 
yery much he requested me to go and cash a 



198 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

check for him. It was for $300 made out by 
Ponticelli himself. 

Q. Did they ever discuss the counterfeit 
operations with you in any way? 

A. No. 

Q. The only thing you know about them is 
that thev made you come down here and testify? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Did they threaten your mother? 

A. No. 

For making this statement, which shows up 
the methods whereby the "Black Handers" oper- 
ated and tried to escape the punishment of the 
court for the offenses with which they were 
charged, Dr. Romano was allowed to go free 
after sentence was suspended. 

Dr. Brancato, the other physician, was tried 
twice, once the jury disagreeing and the second 
time he was found not guilty. 

I have no criticism of the action of the jury 
in Dr. Brancato's case. It is simply in line with 
the "fortunes of war" that the government was 
unable to land Dr. Brancato. 



CHAPTER XX 

THE "BLACK-HAND" TESTAMENT 

On the person of one Rudolpho Palermo—- 
one of the henchmen of the Morello-Lupo band 
—we discovered a small black book closely writ- 
ten in the nebulous dialect of Sicily. This man 
was under arrest on the charge of dealing in 
spurious money of the United States and Can- 
ada. We felt sure we had in our grasp an im- 
portant document. After some little coaxing 
Palermo finally confessed that the ominous look- 
ing little book contained the rules governing the 
actions of the "Black-Hand" Society. 

Palermo is now serving a second sentence of 
six years in the Federal Penitentiary of Atlanta, 
Georgia. 

The following is a translation from the Sicilian 
patois of the rules and articles found in the lit- 
tle black book — the bible of the "Black-Hand- 
ers": 

First Article — Whoever confides to other com- 

199 



200 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

panions, not belonging to the same society, the 
operations and movements of his associates, or 
offends a companion by word or deed, seriously 
or in fooling, or does not respect the recruits 
(who cannot be commanded for other than af- 
fairs of the society), or refuses to mount guard 
at his turn, or gets drunk or has a quarrel among 
companions, or when being called by a compan- 
ion for business of the society refuses his serv- 
ice without justified motive, or leaves town for 
more than one day and does not let it be known 
to the society, is punishable by a fine of $20 and 
cannot come back to his place. But his asso- 
ciates must be all of one accord, pro and con, in 
judging him guilty. In case one of the com- 
panions in the society departs, he must surren- 
der to those remaining the power of his vote, or 
he must leave his address so that the society may 
notify him of a meeting in the case of new prac- 
tice, when he will go to the place at the expense 
of the interested party. But if the punished 
party does not give proof of amending, he will 
be unfrocked — in all points remaining honored, 
however — unless he commits some infamy. 
Whenever the society is re-formed there must 
be an opinion of the judges as to who merits 



"BLACK-HAND" TESTAMENT 201 

his place, and who cannot come to his place, un- 
til a meeting of the same society of its own will 
takes place, without any one appealing to an- 
other body of the society. 

Second Article — He who swears falsely on his 
submission, who draws a weapon against a com- 
panion without a weapon and one of the same 
dimensions (always an uncovered point) or pulls 
a revolver, or has a duel with any man of the 
same society without the permission of his supe- 
rior, is unfrocked, roundly deprived of his rights, 
and he who protects him falls in disgrace without 
right of appealing to another body of the society. 

Third Article — The companion who knows of 
an offense committed by an associate against the 
society, and does not report it to the society, 
falls under the same charge. 

Fourth Article — He that does not come at the 
precise hour of meeting the blackmailers on the 
day set for duty will be punished without warn- 
ing. If he gives an explanation acceptable to 
the society, he will be reinstated; otherwise, he 
will not participate at the next division of funds. 

Fifth Article — A recruit is entitled to one- 
fifth of the spoils procured by or through him 
for the society. 



202 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

Sixth Article — The society cannot proceed in 
any matter without the consent of all the com- 
panions ; the opposition of a single vote is enough 
to dead-lock the proceedings, provided the rea- 
sons given by the dissenter are satisfactory and 
convincing to the society. 

Seventh Article — If a companion arrives once 
the council is in session, his presence cannot alter 
the agreements entered into. 

Eighth Article — Every meeting called is to be 
known to those on duty that day, at least twenty- 
four hours beforehand, except in unusual cases. 

Ninth Article — It is to the disposition exclu- 
sively of the head of the society to establish the 
place and day of meeting without objection. 



CHAPTER XXI 



"the vermilion flower on the big toe" 



Q. Where have you acquired the S ? [The 
by-laws.] 

A. Under the Cedar Plains, and passing 
from the hole of the Beanstalk, I saw three lamps 
lighted and one in the center that could hardly 
stand. 

Q. Who has formed the plan of S? 

A. Fernando Misprizzi. 

Q. Is he dead or alive? 

A. He lives always, even after the end of 
the world. 

Q. Since when have you acquired the Sgarro ? 

A. Since the scientific tree was planted in 
the hole. 

Q. With what is the hole covered? 

A. With a very fine carpet where the (Ca- 
morrists) blackmailers play. 

Q. What is enclosed in this hole? 

903 



204 L THE BARREL MYSTERY 

A. The Penny of Crime denied, fought for, 
and regained. 

Q. How do you demonstrate crime? 

A. Give me a sheet of paper and you will 
see. 

Q. What does the head of crime wear? 

A. A silk handkerchief with five knots and 
the Penny denied, fought for, and regained. 

Q. How many weapons are there? 

A. Thirteen. Five knives — four pairs and 
one separate, five packs of cards, three of which 
are for the ordinary blackmailing and two for 
the blackmailing of the experienced; stiletto, 
small tapper, and razor. 

Q. Where have you drawn? (blood). 

A. From the right thumb of the right hand. 

Q. What does an experienced blackmailer 
bear? 

A. A star in front of him (on his forehead) 
and a vermilion flower on the big toe of the left 
foot. 

Q. How many kinds of blackmail are there? 

A. Three — ordinary blackmail that becomes 
all blackmailers by turn, bold blackmail which 
is "that denied, fought for, and regained," and 



"THE VERMILION FLOWER" 205 

high blackmail that belongs to the supreme in- 
itiated blackmailers. 

Q. What does a highly initiated blackmailer 
especially bear? 

A. A pair of small scissors, a silver needle, 
pins, cotton and taffeta. 



CHAPTER XXII 



THE GENTLE ART OF WRITING "BLACK-HAND" 
LETTERS 



The reader, being now on the "inside" with 
us, I hope the extracts of the "black-hand" let- 
ters given here will convey some meaning. 

When we had our net closely drawn about the 
band of counterfeiters led by Lupo and Morello, 
we raided the homes of the various members of 
the gang. It fell to the lot of operative T. G. 
Gallagher to be among those of our men who 
entered Morello's home and placed the leader 
under arrest. 

In this case, the diaper wrapped about the 
body of Morello's baby attracted the experienced 
eye of operative Gallagher. The moment Gal- 
lagher broke into the room where Mrs. Morello 
was nursing her baby he noticed that Mrs. Mo- 
rello tucked something away in the diaper of 
the infant. The mother fingered the cloth rather 
nervously. 

206 



"BLACK-HAND" LETTERS 207 

Gallagher suggested to Mrs. Morello that 
there might be something of interest to the gov- 
ernment wrapped in the cloth that protected the 
little Morello, and instantly the mother became 
very emphatic in her native manner of making 
us understand that she "no understand." 

Gallagher is a man of Irish extraction from 
the environs of Boston. In other words, he has 
the humorous instinct. So he suggested that 
maybe the poor baby needed a fresh diaper! 
There was a flash of volcanic fire in the mother's 
eye as two strong arms held her secure while 
Gallagher removed the cloth from the infant's 
limbs and exposed the letters, copies of which 
are here given. 

The letters concern the admittance into the 
society of a man who is questioned by the lead- 
ers in New York, and who in turn puts the 
responsibility for his admittance up to the Chi- 
cago gang. Black borders adorn both the en- 
velopes and the paper upon which the writer had 
scribbled his tale. The first of these letters is 
addressed to Mr. Rosario Dispenza, No. 147 
Milton Avenue, Chicago, 111., and is from G. 
La Bella Morello, No. 2069 Second Avenue, 
New York. 



208 THE BARREL MYSTERY; 

"Dear Friend: 

"In answer to your letter that bears date of 
the 10th, I hear what you say in it. Regarding 
the Council, you have no right to be present in 
the meetings. The Council is divided and sep- 
arated from the Assembly. But in case that 
some Councilman wishes to be present in some 
meeting of the Assembly, he can come but only 
to hear and then has no right to the floor, neither 
right to an opinion or right to vote. 

"Have I explained myself? 

"This is for your guidance. Now regarding 
Calogero Constantino. To tell you the truth, I 
have as yet been unable to persuade myself as to 
what it is about, the letters to me have not been 
satisfying or convincing. There should have 
been better explanations. In this manner I can- 
not answer with exact judgment and clear con- 
science. I cannot understand how it is that 
Calogero Constantino remains arrested at Baca- 
luse, Louisiana, while under the protection of so 
many good friends engaged incessantly to make 
him obtain his liberty, and you others of Chicago 
have all this contract on your side. 

"I have said it more than once that I and my 
townsmen have always known the Constantino 



"BLACK-HAND" LETTERS 20$ 

family as a good family, and none other but very 
good, and the boss of my town, I am sure, can- 
not give you better details, though I doubt if 
they knew this family just because they were not 
to our bearing, but nevertheless leaning towards 
good people ; have you seen 'the ox, neither white 
nor black,' this is their bearing. But not for 
this I repeat, always of good people; there have 
been born at times people that had given a good 
account of their being, honored and respected 
as always. 

"We of Corleone have never had any dealings 
with them, therefore could not try them and ap-. 
preciate their merits. Others that have had deal- 
ings, that is to say have known their good mer- 
its, and have brought them to make part of our 
family. Nothing extraordinary, because cer- 
tainly would not have brought them in this land 
if they had not known their good merits. They 
have done well. We, of Corleone, will appre- 
ciate said doings. 

"In your letter you tell me that regarding 
Calogero Constantino there is nothing to say, 
but there should be exact information, because 
there are eight good workers sick to put the work 
on him and of the eight persons there are those 



210 THE BARREL MYSTERY] 

in danger of their lives. But you must excuse 
me if I and others have not understood such 
language. 

"If you know that Constantino is of good 
health, also he is severely of good health, you 
will take with other townsmen of yours the re- 
sponsibility here and also of the town, and we 
will do everything. Neither I nor others here 
can understand how you ever in your wise think- 
ing write us in this manner. If I have written 
to you more than once that this Constantino 
family have never been to our hearing. Known 
to us only by sight in America as in the town, 
and then this is not enough. You surely should 
not ignore the fact Calogero Constantino has 
been missing from New York at least six 
years. 

"Now, then, I ask you why you write me and 
others to assume the responsibility of said indi- 
vidual; if this party could be admitted, then we 
assume the responsibility of an individual that 
had been seen 'neither born nor raised' and who 
has never been known by-name or sight. This 
responsibility you should ask of others, not us. 
You see in this that I was right in resenting De 
Vito Casiaferro and Enea, and saying that it is 



"BLACK-HAND" LETTERS 211 

not done that way, in making a person, by not 
asking information of the townsmen before mak- 
ing it, that all these discussions now would not 
have been. 

"Now you must ask them to assume the re- 
sponsibility, those that have made him, not us. 
Of us you must ask only if we have anything 
to say. This, yes, is very correct. But to as- 
sume responsibility is one thing, and asking if 
we have anything to say is another thing. There 
is a great difference. Therefore, we go in 
Court, we have undersigned, upon our conscience 
and on our honor declare of having nothing to 
say upon the conduct and honor of Calogero 
Constantino, not regarding him only but also of 
his family. All of Corleone. Giuseppe La 
Bella and brother, Vincenzo, brother Ciro and 
brother Coco. 

"Paolo Frisella, 
"Gaetano Lomonte, 
"Stefano Lasala, 

"FORTUNATO Lo MONTE, 

"Antonio Rjzzo, 

"MlCHALE CoNIGLIO, 

"Angelo Valenti, 
"Francesco Moscato." 



212 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

This letter was, of course, written in the Sicil- 
ian dialect, and was translated into the foregoing 
"English," which, the reader will notice, is not 
quite the "Queen's own." But the translation 
was made close to the Sicilian, and we must take 
it as we get it. 

The reader will, of course, see that Constan- 
tino's admittance to the brotherhood is in doubt. 
That is, he is not being accepted into the society 
except upon the responsibility of the Chicago 
crowd. Whatever help is to be given him in 
his trouble in Louisiana, where he is under ar- 
rest, must come from the Chicago brethren. 
Help will come from New York, perhaps, in the 
last extreme. This seems to be the burden of 
the letter. 

Another letter follows which may also help 
the reader to a conclusion as to whether such a 
thing exists as a "Black-Hand" Society. The 
letter is addressed to Mr. Vincenzo Moreci, No. 
535 S. Franklin Street, New Orleans, La. It 
is dated New York, November 15th, 1909, and 
reads as follows: 

"Dear Friend: 

"Am in possession of your two letters, one 



"BLACK-HAND" LETTERS 213 

that bears date of the 5th, the other on the 10th 
of November. I understand the contents. 

"In regard to being able to reorganize the 
family, for me I advise you all to do it because 
it seems it is not just to stay without a king 
nor country, but I authorize you to convey to 
all my humble prayer and my weak opinion, but 
well understood, that those that are worthy and 
those that wish to belong, those that do not wish 
to belong let them go. 

"You tell me that from Palermo arrived good 
news. I nor the others of New York have not 
been formally advised, therefore I beg of you 
tell me something about the news from Palermo. 
Who has written and whether any commission 
has decided to come? I have advised my god- 
father La Gatutte to have in sight the one from 
Morriale. I advise you further that in your last 
letter I understood minutely and by wire, and 
sign the affair of the friend Vincenzo Antinoro. 
It is well now we are well understood. Now 
for the present the most interesting thing that I 
desire and expect is the declaration (statement) 
of Giovanni Gulotta regarding the affair Con- 
stantino and Trombone declaration made and 
signed by his own hands of Giovanni Gu- 



214 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

lotta, and then if we are there it's a wonder. 

"I hear in your letter that Sunday three 
friends left to go and see him. I will await 
patiently the answer and hope for favorable re- 
sults. Am in doubt that one of my letters may 
be lost, because, as I had to say in a previous 
one to the last, I had spoken also of the agree- 
ment I had made with Calogero Gulotta. In 
fact, he told me in this his last that in no other 
Jetter of mine had he understood what I said. 

"I end this moment by sending you the most 
cordial greetings of mine and my family to you 
with all your family and pray you make it known 
also to the friend Zito, Piro, Sunsseri, Benanti 
and their families as also Vito Di Giorgi. 

"They will also receive many greetings of my 
brothers and brothers-in-law and my son Calidu, 
my godfather Angelo La Gatutte and all the 
friends of merit. Many greetings yet from all 
the friends of New Orleans that you think. To 
you a warm kiss. Your affectionate friend, 
"(Signed) G. LA BELLA. (Morello.)' , 



CHAPTER XXIII 

FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR A BADLY WRITTEN 
LETTER 

The value of these letters to the gang, and the 
peculiar information revealed in them to the 
Secret Service, prompted the "Black-Hand" 
crowd to get together a fund of $500, which 
was offered by one of the crowd to a man now 
attached to the New York Police Department. 
With this money the gang intended to bribe this 
man to get the letters and return them to Mrs. 
Morello. Until this man, who was then a mem- 
ber of the police department and a detective, 
reads this, he will not suspect that I even knew 
of the offer. 

There were other letters containing informa- 
tion of very valuable character to the Secret 
Service. 

Now, when the arrest was made, the news 
spread through East One Hundred and Sixth 
Street, where Morello was living, and some of 

215 



216 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

the scouts brought the information to Nick Ter- 
ranova, a half-brother of Morello. Terranova 
thereupon rushed down to Milone's grocery store 
at No. 235 East Ninety-seventh Street to notify 
the members of the gang who might be there 
that Giuseppe had been placed under arrest. 

There was a surprise coming to Nick when he 
discovered a number of Secret Service men in 
charge of the store, and the members of the gang 
taken away by the government's officers. He 
tried to act an imbecile, and pretended not to 
understand English when asked for a reason for 
his coming into the store. He was as commu- 
nicative as the proverbial oyster. 

At the time when Morello was arrested he was 
in bed with his son. Under the pillow of each 
was found a large revolver. Neither father nor 
son, it is needless to say, were given the oppor- 
tunity to reach the weapons. The son has since 
been murdered. 

And now that we are on the subject of let- 
ters I might relate that when the members of 
the gang discovered Comito had confessed what 
he knew of the counterfeiting scheme, they tried 
to locate Comito, who had been hidden by me. 



A BADLY WRITTEN LETTER 217 

They tried a number of ruses in their efforts to 
locate him for the purpose, presumably, of mur- 
dering him. 

One of their efforts was characteristic: Se- 
cret Service operative Rubano was thought by 
the gang to be the man who was communicating 
with Comito by mail. This was presumed by 
the gang without foundation. However, it was 
enough for the gang to feel, that this was the 
way in which I was keeping in touch with Co- 
mito. Here is what happened: 

Don Gasparo had a drug store at No. 23 New 
Bowery, where he also had a branch post office 
and received letters there for a number of the 
"Black-Hand" crowd. Some one wrote to the 
postmaster of New York, on a change of address 
card, and asked the postmaster to have all of 
Pietro Rubano's mail sent to No. 23 New 
Bowery. 

Now you must sign your own name to' the card 
asking for this change. So there was the dif- 
ficulty of getting Rubano's signature to the card 
without his knowing it. That was easy for the 
writer. He forged Rubano's name on the sig- 
nature line of the card. The gang was elated. 



218 t THE barree mystery 

They would now get the "Squealer" Comito's 
letters to the Secret Service and locate and de- 
stroy the traitor. 

But, like the plans of the little field mouse of 
whom Robert Burns wrote, the best laid schemes 
"gang aft agley." 

I asked Rubano if he had made the request 
of the post office to have his mail addressed to 
the New Bowery place, and the detective told 
me it was news to him. 

Then information came to me about Gasparo, 
and I found that the druggist had good reasons 
to stand in with Morello. He had formerly run 
a drug store up in the Bronx in the near neigh- 
borhood of Lupo and Morello's real estate ven- 
ture and was a fast friend of Morello. In fact, 
he and Morello were co-workers in enterprises 
that do not propagate peace on earth and good 
will among men. 

We started to lay a trap for Gasparo. I sent 
a number of letters from different parts of the 
country addressed to Rubano at the Custom 
House, New York, knowing that they would be 
forwarded to the New Bowery address. 

The letters were placed in large envelopes of 
different and pronounced color and easily distin- 



A BADLY WRITTEN LETTER 219 

guishable to the eye when placed in the letter 
"R" box in Gasparo's branch post office. 

Then I set Secret Service men to watch those 
who called for mail and to shadow any one call- 
ing for the large colored envelopes. 

This scheme of mine did not work out, though, 
to any fruitful end because of the failure of any 
of the gang to call for the envelopes with Ru- 
bano's name on them. A number of the gang 
had gone in and out of the drug store for days, 
but not one took away any of the large colored 
envelopes. Either they were afraid to take the 
chance or some suspicious circumstance warned 
them off when at the post office window. Such 
things as a strange man passing and looking into 
the drug store, or the appearance of a stranger 
in the neighborhood, might have been sufficient 
reason for the member who started for the let- 
ters to refrain from asking for them at the last 
moment. These Morello-Lupo members are 
very suspicious, and in dealing with them this 
trait must always be considered. 

Another incident of the efforts of the gang to 
locate Comito may be of interest at this point 
when I relate that the gang offered $2,500 to 
any one who would reveal to the "Black- 



220 ,THE BARREL MYSTERY 

Handers" the whereabouts of Comito. This 
$2,500 was offered to the same member of the 
New York Police Department who was also of- 
fered $500 for the return of the letters, two of 
which I have given a few pages back. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

METHODS OF BLACKMAILING 

A threatening letter is sent to a proposed 
victim. Immediately after the letter is deliv- 
ered by the postman Morello just "happens" to 
be in the vicinity of the victim to be, and "acci- 
dentally" meets the receiver of the letter. 

The receiver knows of Morello's close connec- 
tions with Italian malefactors, and, the thing be- 
ing fresh in mind, calls Morello's attention to 
the letter. 

Morello takes the letter and reads it. He in- 
forms the receiver that victims are not killed off 
without ceremony and just for the sake of 
murder. 

The "Black-Hand" chief himself declares he 
will locate the man who sent the letter, if such 
a thing is possible, the victim never suspect- 
ing that the letter is Morello's own. Of course, 
the letter is never returned to the proposed vic- 
tim. By this cunning procedure no evidence re- 



221 



\ 



222 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

mains in the hand of the receiver of the letter 
should he wish to seek aid from the police. 

Also, Morello is in this way put in close touch 
with the mental attitude of the receiver of the let- 
ter, and he is in a position to tell whether the 
receiver will go to the police or not. 

Morello thus can tell whether to proceed with 
further threats; he can also tell what manner of 
threat is most likely to persuade the receiver of 
the letter to part with his money. 

The threat may be the stealing of his little 
child or the blowing up of his store or the hor- 
rible invitation to expect swift and sudden death 
from a knife thrust in the dark. 

Morello was practically the first man to make 
this manner of blackmail a commercial success 
in this country. 

Here are a few samples of letters taken by the 
Secret Service men from Morello's house when 
he was arrested on the charges upon which he 
was convicted of counterfeiting United States 
money. It was for these letters also that the 
offer of $500 was made in part. 

The letter which follows had been sent through 
the mail to Liborio Bataglia, at No. 13 Prince 
Street, New York City. Morello had got the 



METHODS OF BLACKMAILING 223 

letter back in the usual way that I have just 
explained. It reads in the English translation 
from the Sicilian as follows: 

"Mr. Bataglia: 

"Do not think that we are dead. Look out 
for your face; a veil won't help you. Now is 
the occasion to give me five hundred dollars on 
account of that which you others don't know 
respect that from then to now you should have 
kissed my forehead I have been in your store, 
friend Donate how you respect him he is an 
ignorant boob, that I bring you others I hope 
that all will end that when we are alone they 
give me no peace as I deserve time lost that 
brings you will know us neither some other of 
the Mafia in the future will write in the bank 
where you must send the money without so many 
stories otherwise you will pay for it." 

Here is another letter that had been sent 
through the mails and obtained by Morello in 
the usual manner. It bears a Brooklyn post- 
mark and is dated September 21, 1908. It was 
addressed to Rosario Oliveri, 27 Stanton Street. 
It reads in the translation from the Sicilian : 



224 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

"Dear Friend : 

"Beware we are sick and tired of writing to 
you to the appointment you have not come with 
people of honor. If this time you don't do what 
we say it will be your ruination. Send us three 
hundred dollars with people of honor at eleven 
o'clock Thursday night. There will be a friend 
at the corner of 15th Street and Hamilton Ave. 
He will ask you for the signal. Give me the 
word and you will give him the money. Beware 
that if you don't come to this order we will ruin 
all your merchandise and attempt your lif e. Be- 
ware of what you do. M. N." 

Here is a polite invitation to a proposed vic- 
tim that he very kindly dispense with his money. 
It reads: 

"Friend : 

"The need obliges us to come to you in order 
to do us a favor. We request, Sunday night, 
7th day, at 12 o'clock you must bring the sum 
of $1000. Under penalty of death for you and 
your dears you must come under the new bridge 
near the Grand Street ferry where you will find 
the person that wants to know the time. At this 



METHODS OF BLACKMAILING 225 

word you will give him the money. Beware of 
what you do and keep your mouth shut. . . ." 

I summoned a great many of the people to 
whom these letters were sent and asked them to 
tell who they met and how much money they 
gave to the "Black-Handers." But invariably 
these people, some of whom I knew were vic- 
tims, would deny that they had met any person 
in answer to the letter, and they would also deny 
that they ever thought of giving any money to 
appease the wrath of the "Black-Hand" Society. 



CHAPTER XXV 



TRACING A LETTER 



While I was hot on the trail of the counter- 
feiting gang led by Lupo and Morello, a letter 
came to my hand which contained a counterfeit 
five-dollar note. The letter was addressed to 
Andrea Pollara, Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, 
Canada. The letter was written in Italian and 
translated was as follows: 

"Dear Friend: 

"I enclose a sample of those for $5 and beg 
you buy five cents of Griciria (the "black-hand" 
word for glycerine) which if rubbed on certain 
counterfeit bills will give them the appearance 
of age, and so make them the more easy to pass, 
and rub it on your hands, and then you will do 
whatever you want. If you see they will go 
well, notify me at once and I will send you as 
many as you want." 

226 



TRACING A LETTER 227 

The note was signed I. P. It was a regis- 
tered letter and sealed with black wax by a stamp 
seal bearing the name of F. Acritelli, No. 243 
Elizabeth Street. The return address on this 
letter was Giuseppe Conti, No. 8 Prince Street, 
New York City. The letter also showed that it 
had been mailed at Sub-Station No. 78, which 
is in the Italian bank conducted by Pasquale 
Pati, at No. 240 Elizabeth Street, just across 
the street from where the letter had been sealed 
at Acritelli's banking place. This Acritelli, by 
the way, is the father of the former Coroner 
Acritelli. 

The initials on the signature of the letter, I 
guessed were those of Pietro Inzarillo. This 
man conducted a little Italian cafe at No. 226 
Elizabeth Street, in the same block where Acri- 
telli's bank was, and also in the same block where 
the sub-post office station was located where the 
letter had been registered. Also, I knew that 
this Inzarillo was just around the corner from 
the grocery store of Lupo, at No. 8 Prince 
Street; and in the back of Lupo's cafe, Morello 
conducted his Italian restaurant. 

I examined the five-dollar counterfeit bill and 



228 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

saw that it was the work of the Lupo-Morello 
gang. 

Then, too, the return address, No. 8 Prince 
Street, was where Morello and Lupo were doing 
business. The problem was how to connect these 
two fellows with the writing of the letter. It 
had been rejected when brought back there by 
the letter carrier. 

I hit upon the plan of finding out whether the 
handwriting was that of Lupo, which I had rea- 
son to believe it was. I remembered that several 
of the Lupo-Morello gang were in the Tombs 
awaiting trial for counterfeiting. I knew that 
many of their friends applied to United States 
Marshal Henkel for passes to visit the members 
of the gang locked up. Two of these were Isa- 
dore Crocervera and Giuseppe DePriema. The 
latter, by the way, was the brother-in-law of the 
man found murdered in the barrel. 

I went to Marshal Henkel and told him what 
I was after, and made arrangements with him 
to get the handwriting of all those who called 
and asked for passes to see the two Morello- 
Lupo counterfeiters. So whenever the visiting 
members called at the marshal's office and asked 
for passes the marshal pretended that he did not 



TRACING A LETTER 229 

understand and had the visitors write out what 
they wished and required them to sign the re- 
quest for passes. In this way I obtained the 
signature and handwriting of a number of the 
gang, but failed in the main purpose, namely, 
that of obtaining a sample of Lupo's handwrit- 
ing or his signature. 

Despite the fact that I was satisfied that the 
workmanship of the bill was that of the Lupo- 
Morello crowd, and though I was cod ident that 
Lupo wrote the letter, yet when the letter was 
returned to No. 8 Prince Street nobody there 
would accept it for Giuseppe Conti, the informa- 
tion to the letter carrier being that no such per- 
son lived there or was known there. When you 
know the ways of the Sicilian criminal this occur- 
rence alone is good grounds for believing that a 
great deal more was known about Giuseppe 
Conti at the Prince Street address than was 
given to the letter carrier. 

I hit upon another plan. I knew that Lupo 
was importing into this country a large quan- 
tity of olive oil, which had to pass the govern- 
ment officials. Accordingly, I went to see John 
Hughes, brother of former Inspector of Police 
Edward Hughes, who was at one time in charge 



230 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

of the Detective Bureau at Police Headquarters. 
I told Hughes what I wanted. He was in the 
Custom's service. 

Hughes brought it about so that the consign- 
ment of olive oil to Lupo was held up, compel- 
ling Lupo himself to write out a list of the goods 
he desired to have admitted over his personal sig- 
nature. The statement was then taken to a 
handwriting expert and also the letter contain- 
ing the counterfeit five-dollar bill was placed at 
the disposal of the expert, who declared that the 
handwriting of the letter and that of the state- 
ment written by Lupo for his consignment of 
olive oil was one and the same. 

Now I had established a connecting link that 
would stand the test of the courts. But there 
were many other things about the letter that led 
me to go further before making any allegation 
against the wily Lupo. 

It occurred to me it might be well to know 
why the letter had been sent away out to a rail- 
road camp in Portage La Prairie. I got men to 
work on that end of the case. We found that 
Andrea Pollara was a laborer in a railroad camp 
at the address to which the letter had been sent. 
Further, it was established that Andrea Pollara 



TRACING A LETTER 231 

was the agent of the gang in the camp where a 
number of Italians were employed mending and 
building spurs on the railroad. He had been 
sent there to investigate and see whether it was 
a profitable place in which to distribute some of 
the spurious bills. Additional information dis- 
closed the fact that the railroad camp had moved 
and the letter having been addressed to Portage 
La Prairie, and not being called for, was re- 
turned to the address written on the back, Giu- 
seppe Conti, No. 8 Prince Street. This cleared 
up in my mind the reasons for the letter being 
sent to the Canadian railroad camp and also the 
cause of its being returned. 

Other little connecting links were established 
over which I was building a bridge to Lupo in 
his Italian grocery store. It came to my mind 
that Lupo had done quite some business with 
Banker Acritelli, and Lupo was also on more 
than familiar terms with Banker Pati. I knew 
that Lupo and Inzarillo were very friendly. It 
was found that the man to whom the letter had 
been addressed to in Canada was not Andrea 
Pollara. This was an assumed name. The 
right name of the "Black-Hander" was Salva- 
tore Maccari, who had a wife living in New 



232 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

York City. The net of evidence was closing on 
Lupo. 

While I was gathering the threads together, 
the tragedy of the barrel murder came to public 
notice. While the police of New York were 
groping around in the dark, I submitted infor- 
mation of which I have spoken previously in this 
book, and the arrest of a number of the gang for 
the murder of the victim in the barrel followed. 
Among those arrested was Lupo. When he was 
placed in custody his house was searched, and the 
following letter, written in Italian, was found. 
It was postmarked Portage La Prairie, Mani- 
toba, Canada, addressed to Pietro Inzarillo, No. 
226 Elizabeth Street, New York City, dated 
September 4, 1902, and translated reads: 

"Dear Friend: 

"By the present I give you the news of my 
good health and of all the friends who are with 
me, and so we hope to hear from you and all the 
friends in New York, whom we respect. Mean- 
time, I beg of you warmly to tell me when the 
goods arrive, and to send me the samples of a 
five in order to see whether we can do business, 
prompt answer and samples. I and all the 



TRACING A LETTER 233 

friends salute you together with the friends, over 
in New York, I am your friend Andrea Pollara. 
My address is the following, Mr. Andrea Pol- 
lara, Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, Canada. 
P. S. Dear Paolo, I beg of you to send me five 
dollars you or Ignazio (meant for Ignazio 
Lupo) that as soon as I get my money I will 
return them to you, nothing else, I am your 
friend 'Salvatore Matisi.' Be so kind as to put 
them in the letter of your friend, I am sure you 
will favor me." 

The reader will not require much taxing 
of his thinking powers to realize that the re- 
turned letter containing the counterfeit $5.00 
note was written in response to the above 
letter. 

When Lupo was searched we found another 
clue. A note book was found on him in which 
the following entry is recorded: 

"S. Matisi, sent to Canada $5.00 — to his wife 
$5.00— ditto $4.00." 

Opposite this entry, that is, on the opposite 
page in the note book, is written : 

"The name Matisi is mentioned a number of 
times in this book as are also the names of a 



234 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

number of counterfeiters including Isadore Cro- 
cervera and Giuseppe DePriema." 

These entries were taken to a handwriting ex- 
pert who declared that the handwriting was the 
same as that in the letter which I started tracing 
after its return here from Portage La Prairie. 
These entries, however, were in English, and I 
may note here that Lupo wrote English. 

Twelve of the gang were arrested by the New 
York police when they rounded up the crowd 
incident to the barrel murder. Among those ar- 
rested with Lupo was Pietro Inzarillo. When 
the latter was arrested, his cafe at No. 226 Eliza- 
beth Street was searched and a letter from Mac- 
cari was found. The letter was postmarked 
Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, Canada, dated 
September 1st, 1902, and addressed to Pietro 
Inzarillo, alias Saitta (Lupo's full name being 
Ignazio Lupo Saitta), Elizabeth Street, New 
York. The rest of the address is illegible. The 
letter reads : 

"Canada Pacife, August 31, 1902. 
"Dear Friend: 

"With these few words I come to make you 
a note of my perfect health, the same I hope to 



TRACING A LETTER 235 

hear from you, you brothers also, I desire to 
know how your father has been ; therefore I rec- 
ommend to you that affair that I left in your 
charge. If my Uncle Thomas comes from 
Ebgostien, do not forget the affair that is the 
direction that you have given to Carmino, do 
not let it go up in the air. As soon as possible 
that you can, make it. Nothing else to tell you. 
Give my regards to Paolo Marchese, regards to 
Giuseppe Morello and John Pecorain and all 
the friends that ask for me, with the best of 
regards to you, I say your dear friend 'Salvatore 
Matisi' accept the regards from Carmelo Blan- 
dina. This is the direction — Salvatore Maccari, 
P. O. Portage La Prairie Manitoba, Canada." 

No comment is necessary concerning the let- 
ter. It speaks for itself as another thread in 
the net I was weaving. 

It did not take agents of the Secret Service 
long to "pick up" Maccari. He was not aware 
of the fact that he was under surveillance for 
some time prior to May 2, of 1902, when he was 
placed under arrest at his home in No. 70% 
James Street, New York City. When his 
apartments were searched agents of the service 



236 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

looked under Maccari's bed and found letters 
written from Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, 
Canada, and signed Salvatore Maccari. These 
letters were addressed to Maccari's wife, and con- 
tained what is termed "rivetting" evidence. 
Also, there were letters from his wife to Mac- 
cari and addressed to him at Portage La Prairie. 

When placed under arrest Maccari at first 
denied that he knew either Lupo or Inzarillo, 
and proved to be a proverbial Italian at giving 
information to the police. He would not admit 
that he had ever seen or heard of either of the 
two men. He knew nothing about the counter- 
feit money, and had never even seen any spun* 
ous bills either in this country or in Italy. He 
made the sign of the cross and called on the saints 
to prove the truth of his lying statements. He 
declared that he could not read, neither could he 
write. 

Later on he admitted that he was intimately 
acquainted with Lupo and that Lupo's father 
and his father were great friends in Italy for 
years and that both families were life-long 
friends. He also admitted that he was well ac- 
quainted with Inzarillo. He also declared that 



TRACING A LETTER 237 

the letters were written by a friend and signed 
at his, Maccari's, dictation. And more evidence 
was ferreted out. 

The water mark in the billheads used by Lupo 
in his grocery business was identical with that 
in the letter sent to Portage La Prairie, and 
having on it the return address of Giuseppe 
Conti, No. 8 Prince Street. The envelope upon 
which the return address was written was the 
same make as the envelopes found in the cafe 
of Inzarillo when that place was searched follow- 
ing Inzarillo's arrest in connection with the bar- 
rel murder. 

On October 24, 1902, a registered letter ad- 
dressed to Andrea Pollara, with the return ad- 
dress P. Inzarillo and Giglio, was returned to 
Lupo at his residence, No. 433 West Fortieth 
Street. Pollara could not be located in the 
Canadian camp and so the letter came back. 
Lupo signed the receipt for the returned letter. 
The handwriting was the same as in the instances 
already related wherein the "Black Hander's" 
scribbling was identified by an expert. 

I will not weary the reader with further efforts 
along this line of reaching one of the big chiefs 



238 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

of the gang as he stood far in the background, 
certain of his immunity from any connection in a 
legal sense with the distributor of the money 
his brain had planned to build up his fortune on. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

"black-hand" propaganda 

The method followed in enlisting Antonio 
Schiavi into the service of the gang affords a 
typical example of the cunning, watchful pro- 
cedure of the Lupo-Morello secret propaganda, 
which was in a fair way to become of world-wide 
scope. A gang member, Giuseppe Gudo, man- 
aged to send Schiavi to a drug store where he 
was sure to meet Antonio Miloni. 1 

Schiavi tells of leaving Rio de Janeiro about 
February 23, 1909, on the steamship Gunther, 
and arriving in New York in the middle of Feb- 
ruary of the same year. While on shipboard he 
became acquainted with Giuseppe Gudo, a tailor 
of Newark, New Jersey. After striking up a 
friendly acquaintance with Gudo Schiavi says, 
and telling Gudo that he was a litho-engraver, 

i Miloni was Treasurer of the Ignatz Florio Co-Operative 
Association. He was indicted and confessed. He is now in 
Italy a fugitive from justice. 

239 



240 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

Bono sent him to the drug store of Mocito, af 
No. 20 Broome Street, where Schiavi was to 
ask for Giuseppe Carlino, another litho-engraver 
who would get employment in New York for 
Schiavi. 

Schiavi never met any Carlino, he says, but 
Gudo had spoken about him (Schiavi), the lat- 
ter learned at the drug store. Accordingly, 
Schiavi continued to go to the Mocito store and 
remained there for a half day at a time in the 
hope of meeting Gudo. He was unsuccessful in 
this, though, but often met Cecala at the drug 
store. One day Cecala spoke to him, Schiavi 
says, and suggested that with a little money he 
(Schiavi) could start in a profitable business. 

Cecala never said much more concerning this 
business venture, though, to Schiavi, but one day 
Cecala made a further suggestion that Schiavi 
might help a certain man learn the photo-engrav- 
ing business. This man, according to Cecala, 
had been in the bicycle business, but had given 
up this enterprise and was looking around for 
employment that promised to be more remunera- 
tive. 

Finally, one day at the drug store, he was in- 
troduced to Antonio B. Miloni by Cecala who 



"BLACK-HAND" PROPAGANDA 241 

told Schiavi that Miloni was the man of whom 
Cecala had been speaking and who wanted to 
learn the photo-engraving business. 

Schiavi and Miloni had an extended conversa- 
tion, and Schiavi agreed to go to the home of 
Miloni and teach him the business. Then for 
about six weeks or two months Schiavi went to 
the home of Miloni daily, and taught the "Black 
Hander" the essentials of the photo-engraving 
business. At the end of that time, according to 
Schiavi, Miloni discovered that he could proceed 
by himself and announced to Schiavi that he 
(Miloni) had joined the photo-engravers' union. 

About a year or so after this, Schiavi says he 
met Miloni on Third Avenue near One Hundred 
and Fourteenth Street, and Miloni was on his 
way home. The latter had in his possession, 
Schiavi says, a camera and all the necessaries for 
photographing. Also, Schiavi says, Miloni took 
him along to a photo-engraving supply store at 
No. 103 Mott Street, where the "Black Hander" 
bought several kinds of the supplies necessary 
to the photo-engraving business. 

Schiavi then tells of making a rendezvous of 
the Mocito drug store after this incident. He 
met a man in the drug store by the name of Don 



242 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

Ciccio (Francesco) who made the drug store a 
camping place. This Don Ciccio posed as be- 
ing in the real estate business and declared that 
he was an agent. What manner of agent he 
was, Schiavi says, Don Ciccio never made clear. 
This same Don Ciccio, according to Schiavi, once 
asked him whether he were able to make plates 
for money. Schiavi informed the real estate 
man that he could make the plates, but preferred 
his liberty to a term in the confines of a jail. 
Miloni was present during the conversation be- 
tween Schiavi and Don Ciccio, according to 
Schiavi, but Miloni did not enter into the con- 
versation. There were others who frequented 
the drug store and who were identified by Schiavi 
as members of the gang now imprisoned on the 
charges of counterfeiting. 

In many ways, too numerous to relate, in- 
formation of this sort came to me until the Secret 
Service was facing the onerous task of digesting 
and coordinating it for its special needs to keep 
the legal tender of the country secure. 

The subtle, round-about manner in which the 
"Black Hander" scatters the seeds of his prop- 
aganda so that they will grow and bear fruit of 
themselves and disarm suspicion is well-illus- 



"BLACK-HAND" PROPAGANDA 243 

trated in the way in which the attempt was made 
to inveigle Schiavi. 

Corleone is the home town of Morello and 
Lupo, the arch-plotters. It is a place fascinat- 
ing to the eye of the artist. Nestling at the foot 
of Mount Cardellia, in the province of Palermo, 
Sicily, it lies about two thousand feet above sea- 
level and seems to be sailing in the clouds like a 
phantom city of the Middle Ages. 

Corleone means Lion-Heart. Korliun it was 
named by the Saracens, who founded it and 
made it a military stronghold in the picturesque 
thirteenth century. Something of the savage, 
marauding spirit of the Saracen, always a men- 
ace to civilization, hovers about the place — a 
savagery that has nursed into being a danger- 
ous and powerful arm of the great Mafia or 
"Black-Hand" Society of Italy. The town 
holds only about twenty thousand inhabitants 
and there is no industry to speak of. Palermo 
is but twenty-one miles to the north of it. There 
is a splendid old church in Corleone reminiscent 
of the time when King Frederick II colonized 
these parts with Lombardian peasants as early 
as 1237. 

One night in the year 1889, while on his way 



244 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

home, Giovanni Vella, Chief of the Sylvan 
Guards, was murdered in a dark street but a 
short distance from his residence in Corleone. A 
bullet had torn its way through his back and into 
his lung. Vella lasted but a few minutes after 
the shooting, but long enough to cause a nasty 
tangle for the police in their effort to solve the 
murder. Vella lived just long enough to utter 
a few remarks that were misused by Mafia in- 
fluences to send an innocent man to prison for 
twenty-two years. 

Anna Di Puma, a neighbor, returning to her 
house at that hou • had just passed through a 
dark alley and noticed two men lurking in the 
shadow. She passed close and looked into their 
faces, recognizing one of the men as Giuseppe 
Morello, whom she knew very well. 

A couple of minutes later, even before she 
had reached her door, she heard a shot and ran 
back into the alley. There she found Vella ly- 
ing in the exact spot where she had seen Mo- 
rello and his companion apparently hiding but 
a few minutes previously. Anna Di Puma told 
the neighbors what she had seen. She was also 
incautious enough to say that she was going to 



"BLACK-HAND" PROPAGANDA 245 

court to tell on the witness stand just what she 
had observed. 

Anna Di Puma was shot in the back and killed 
two days later while she was sitting on the door- 
step of a neighbor's store. 

Morello was arrested and charged with the 
murder of the Di Puma woman. He was held 
in prison to await trial, but powerful influences 
of the Mafia were set to work and Morello was 
discharged for lack of evidence. The only wit- 
ness to the murder of Vella was dead. Two 
lawyers of his band testified that Morello was 
in Palermo with them and not in Corleone on 
the night the Di Puma woman was murdered. 

Michele Guarino Zangara, living in the next 
apartment to Morello, who noticed when the 
"Black Hander" arrived home and overheard the 
conversation that followed between Morello and 
his mother, was also murdered. He was thrown 
off a bridge one night while on his way home. 
He was found the next morning under the 
bridge dead. This man Zangara had gone to 
the accused man's house, three or four days after 
the Chief of the Sylvan Guards was murdered, 
and told the family of the man unjustly arrested 



246 JHE BARREL MYSTERY 

for the crime that he (Guarino) had overheard 
Mrs. Morello say to her son: 

"Peppe, what have you done? Now they will 
come and arrest you," and in response to this 
Morello said, "Shut up, mother, they have gone 
on the wrong scent." 

Zangara, being a man with a large family, 
feared to tell what he knew because he felt sure 
that Morello would murder him just as he had 
slain the Di Puma woman. However, when the 
accused man, Francesco Ortonello, was convicted 
and sentenced to life imprisonment, Zangara 
came to the front, declaring that his conscience 
troubled him to see an innocent man sent away 
for the murder of Vella. He went to the au- 
thorities and told them that he was willing to 
risk his life and tell the truth for Ortonello. The 
authorities told Zangara that it would have been 
better had he told it during the trial. Now it 
was too late. 

A few days after this the murder of Zangara 
took place. 

Morello was on his way to America at this 
time, but the "Black Hander" had many power- 
ful friends still watchful for his interests, and 
some of these attended to Zangara. 



"BLACK-HAND" PROPAGANDA 247 

Pietro Milone, a police officer who tried hard 
to clear Ortonello, was murdered one night on 
his way home. The one who slew the officer 
was never punished. 

Biaggia Milone lived across the way from the 
spot where Morello and his companion were seen 
hiding, and this woman subsequently admitted 
she saw the shooting and that Morello did it. 

This woman is now in New York, and is the 
cousin of Domenico Milone, who conducted the 
grocery store at No. 235 East Ninety-seventh 
Street, which was the headquarters and distribut- 
ing plant for the Lupo-Morello counterfeit 
money. The Milone woman has even stated 
publicly that she would not testify to what she 
knows in behalf of Ortonello in an effort to get 
the old man out of prison where, she says, she 
knows he is unjustly kept! 

Ortonello's father, who tried to have his son 
freed, was threatened with death several times, 
and several shots were actually fired at him while 
the old man sat in his own doorway. The marks- 
manship was not good and the old man escaped 
the bullets. 

While Morello was in prison charged with 
murdering the Di Puma woman he met Or- 



248 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

tonello in the prison. Morello admitted to Or- 
tonello that he had murdered Vella, the chief of 
the Sylvan Guards, for which crime Ortonello 
was there in the prison awaiting trial. Morello 
also informed Ortonello that if he and all his 
family did not care to join Vella in the world 
to come that the whole family had better be 
careful of what they said and what charges they 
made, and that any evidence tending to show his 
(Morello's) complicity in the crime must be sup- 
pressed. 

In order that the reader may view the fore- 
going facts in proper perspective it will be neces- 
sary for me to relate a little of the politics and 
the relation of the so-called Mafia to the murders. 

Vella, the murdered chief, was a very active 
and knowing man. He had dug up a great 
amount of evidence against the criminal band of 
which Morello was a member, and which was un- 
der the leadership of a very wealthy and power- 
ful young man named Paolino Streva. 

Vella had sworn in public that he would put 
this band out of business in and around Corleone. 
He also had decided to place Morello under sur- 
veillance, which means that Morello would have 
to be home every night at a certain time and sub- 



"BLACK-HAND" PROPAGANDA 249 

ject to be called at any hour of the night by the 
police who would see whether he was behaving 
himself. Also, Morello would be compelled to 
make reports of his whereabouts and conduct and 
what work he was at to Vella whenever the chief 
should require it. 

In return for the stand Vella had taken Mo- 
rello swore publicly that he would be avenged on 
Vella for this punishment. 

Vella also knew of the extensive criminal oper- 
ations of Streva and that Morello was Streva's 
trusted lieutenant. Vella knew that Streva had 
a great deal of influence with judges and other 
public officials and even boasted that certain sen- 
ators in Rome would do his bidding. Through 
this influence Streva managed to get out of 
prison a number of thieves, murderers and black- 
guards who in turn would go to any extremes 
for Streva. By crooked politics and sometimes 
by fear Streva exerted a baneful influence over 
the community the same as his uncle had done 
before him, the uncle who had handed down the 
wealth and political power that the younger man 
enjoyed. All these things were well known to 
Vella. 

A further circumstance must be related here. 



250 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

During the latter part of 1889, a large number 
of cattle had been stolen in the neighborhood of 
Corleone and the country people were making 
many complaints. Vella had been working on 
the case, and succeeded in rounding up facts and 
evidence sufficient to strike a telling blow at the 
Streva-Morello team and the rest of the Mafia 
crowd. The chief was contemplating a raid on 
the gang. The Streva crowd, however, were 
tipped off that the arrest orders were about to 
be signed. 

Beyond and behind all this there was a tense 
political situation. Vella's term of office was 
about to expire and election day was not far off. 
Streva and his crowd feared Vella, but they 
knew that they could not hope to beat the chief 
for re-election if they opposed him with one of 
their own crowd. 

The "Black Handers" looked the field over 
and hit upon Francesco Ortonello, who was a 
man of upright life and character respected by 
his townsmen for miles around. Ortonello's 
father had been mayor of Corleone. An uncle 
was the best-known priest in the southern ex- 
tremity of Sicily. Ortonello, though, had never 
meddled with politics, nor with the Mafia or any 



"BLACK-HAND" PROPAGANDA 251 

other organization. He was quite content to 
mind his own business and devote himself to his 
family. One day a committee of influential men 
called on Ortonello, and after persistent argu- 
ment induced him to run for the office of Com- 
mander of the Sylvan Guards against Vella. 

This induced Vella to suspect Ortonello for 
being in league with the Mafia and intent on 
spoiling all the good work done toward wiping 
out the plundering band of which Morello was 
a member. 

Accordingly, with some liquor in him, Vella 
went to Ortonello's house and hurled the follow- 
ing at Ortonello, who did not understand the 
political conditions that prevailed at the time: 

"So, Ortonello," said Vella in a rage, "you 
have dropped the mask. I never thought you 
were one of the Mafia's puppets. I thought you 
were an honest man, but evidently I fooled my- 
self." 

This onslaught in his own house brought Orto- 
nello to his feet. He grabbed a gun and forced 
Vella to flee. Now, Ortonello's eyes were 
opened. He realized that he had been duped 
into accepting the candidacy against Vella. He 
realized that his clean record of citizenship was 



252 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

to be used in order to beat Vella. He promptly 
went to the authorities and notified them to can- 
cel his name. 

The Mafia was thrown into panic. The 
bandits knew that Vella would win if Ortonello 
did not oppose him. 

The very night following Ortonello's can- 
celling of his name for the office, Vella was mur- 
dered. 

Previously on the evening that he was shot 
Vella had been making merry at the cafe "Stella 
dTtalia" with a number of public officials and 
was well "under the weather," as they say, when 
he started for home. He was seen to rest 
against a lamp-post. A neighbor offered him 
assistance to his door but Vella refused. 

As soon as the shooting took place there was 
a commotion. Vella's wife, feeling that some 
such fate would befall her husband, rushed out 
terror-stricken and fell prostrate across the dy- 
ing chief. The carabineers arrived and with 
them a crowd of people. Vella was taken in a 
dying condition to his house, which became 
jammed with excited neighbors. Among those 
present was Morello. He had hidden his gun 
in a pile of rubbish at the river's edge and hur- 



"BLACK-HAND" PROPAGANDA 253 

ried into Vella's house to look for developments. 
The hiding of the gun by Morello was testi- 
fied to at the trial of Ortonello by a man named 
Antonio Caronia, who, by the way, was not mur- 
dered. He was a good shot himself, and had 
the reputation of being able to mix it up with any 
of the Morello crowd without much fear of the 
results. 

The commander of the carabineers was a dear 
friend of Vella's and had been dining with the 
chief but a few minutes before the shooting. 
The commander asked Vella who shot him and 
the chief muttered: 

"Cows, cows, — the Mafia." The chief also re- 
cited a long list of names of the men he had been 
camping after in his efforts to rid the community 
of the Mafia band. At this the commander of 
the carabineers interrupted the dying chief, and 
told him he was naming too many men, and that 
so many could not have done the shooting. The 
result,, the commander told the chief, would be 
that no one would suffer for the offense. The 
commander then asked Vella whether he had any 
quarrels recently and the chief answered: 

"Yes, I quarrelled with Ortonello yesterday. 
He wanted to take my job away — take the bread 



254. THE BARREL MYSTERY 

and butter from my wife and children — and he 
threatened me with a gun." 

The commander of the carabineers immedi- 
ately directed his men to go and get Ortonello 
and bring him to the house of the dying chief. 

When Morello heard this order he smiled and 
departed for his home. It was upon returning 
there that the conversation took place which 
Zangara declared he had overheard between the 
"Black Hander" and his mother. 

When the carabineers arrived with Ortonello 
in their custody, Vella was in his last breaths. 
When asked by the commander of the carabineers 
if Ortonello was the man with whom he had 
quarrelled on the previous day, Vella nodded his 
head and fell back dead. 

Another arrest followed that of Ortonello. It 
was that of Francesco Orlando, who was also a 
candidate against Vella. Orlando was tried and 
sentenced to a term of fifteen years, which he 
served and is now out. Needless to say that 
Orlando's sympathies and activities are not di- 
rected toward any movement favorable to the 
Morello crowd. 

The trial of Ortonello shows the methods of 
the Mafia — methods that the Lupo-Morello gang 



"BLACK-HAND" PROPAGANDA 255 

would transplant to this country in the conduct 
of the trials of our courts of their criminal 
brethren if it could be done by them. Morello's 
powerful friends brought it about so that the two 
attorneys for Ortonello deserted him at the mo- 
ment the case was to go to trial so that the un- 
fortunate Ortonello was forced to take a young 
lawyer who knew little of the details of the case 
and who was not sufficiently versed in the prac- 
tice of courts. 

But worse still, the two attorneys that deserted 
Ortonello on the eve of his trial had all along 
advised him that his innocence was so evident 
that no jury would ever convict him. It was 
not, therefore, the attorneys told Ortonello, nec- 
essary to go to any great pains to prove his in- 
nocence. The value of this advice to the Mafia 
crowd may be brought out more strongly when 
I tell you that both of these attorneys were be- 
traying Ortonello and keeping Morello's friend 
Streva, the powerful young leader of the Mafia, 
informed of every move of Ortonello. They ad- 
vised Ortonello not to bring out any evidence 
that would be injurious to Streva or Morello. 
It would not be necessary to do this to prove his 
innocence, the two attorneys told Ortonello. 



256 THE BARREL MYSTERY] 

In vain Antonio Caronia testified in Orto- 
nello's behalf that he had seen Morello hide the 
gun in the pile of rubbish at the river's edge 
shortly after the shooting took place. To offset 
this testimony of Caronia's, the Morello crowd 
worked upon the police and had the gun spirited 
away. Later on, it may be added here, the po- 
lice official who was responsible for the hiding of 
this gun at the time of Ortonello's trial, was 
dismissed from the service for his conduct. 

In vain did Ortonello's attorney bring out evi- 
dence that the bullet extracted from Vella's body 
was much larger than the calibre of the gun 
found in Ortonello's home. Testimony was ad- 
mitted at the trial to offset this. A Mafia hench- 
man was produced who declared that the bullet 
had been made larger because of hitting a bone 
in Vella's body and thus flattening the missile. 

In vain was it shown that a grocery wagon 
had been placed in front of Ortonello's door more 
than an hour before the shooting and that this 
wagon had to be removed before the carabineers 
could get admittance to Ortonello's house when 
they went after him to bring him to the house 
of the dying chief. In vain was it brought out 
at the trial that Ortonello was in bed when the 



"BLACK-HAND" PROPAGANDA 257 

carabineers entered his room to take him into 
custody. In vain was it shown that he could 
not have got into the house or out of it while a 
grocery wagon was backed up to his door an 
hour previous to the time of the shooting and 
was still there when the carabineers arrived to 
arrest him. In vain was it shown that this gro- 
cery wagon had been drawn up in front of Or- 
tonello's door by the groceryman next door who 
had come from Palermo that night with a large 
amount of groceries, and when the mail stage 
was to pass, and because the street was narrow, 
the groceryman backed the wagon up to the door 
and left it there until he could unload his goods. 

In vain did the groceryman testify that he 
was unloading his wagon when the shot was fired, 
that he did not leave his wagon from thenmntil 
the carabineers arrived, and that Ortonello had 
not entered the house nor come from it during 
that period. In vain was testimony given that 
the grocery wagon, being backed up to the door, 
prevented Ortonello from either coming out of 
the house or entering it. 

In order to contradict the testimony of the 
grocer and three others who corroborated him 
concerning the wagon, friends of Vella went to 



258 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

a prostitute who lived in the rear of Ortonello's 
house and paid her money to testify that she had 
seen Ortonello after the shooting climb a rope 
and enter the rear window of this house. The 
window was forty feet from the ground. This 
woman is now dead, but before her demise she 
told the truth and declared that she had per- 
jured herself for the money given her by the 
commander of the carabineers. This man was 
very bitter against Ortonello because he believed 
at the time that Ortonello had murdered his 
friend Vella. 

To no avail was the testimony of an expert 
shoe-maker who showed the court that the foot- 
prints examined in the spot where Morello was 
seen hiding by the Di Puma woman, just prior 
to the shooting, were not the footprints of Or- 
tonello nor of Orlando. 

As further proof of the unfair trial suffered 
by Ortonello let me relate that the commander 
of the carabineers was so convinced of Ortonello's 
guilt, and so determined to prove a strong case 
against the unfortunate Ortonello that the com- 
mander went to the house of Biaggia Milone and 
frightened her by threats into testifying that she 
had seen Ortonello and Orlando do the shooting, 



"BLACK-HAND" PROPAGANDA 259 

that she had seen this from the window of her 
home, and that she had seen the two surveying 
the ground on the previous Sunday. This is 
the Milone woman whose cousin operated the 
grocery store in East Ninety-seventh Street, 
which was the headquarters distributing plant for 
the Lupo-Morello counterfeit money. 

For four years Ortonello remained in prison 
at Palermo, where the case should properly have 
been tried; but the Mafia crowd became fright- 
ened at the public sentiment that was being 
aroused in behalf of Ortonello and feared that 
if he were tried at Palermo, where he was so 
well known, and where the truth was slowly leak- 
ing out, he would be set free. Through the in- 
fluence of Streva the case was transferred to 
Messina, at the other extremity of Sicily, where 
Ortonello was tried and convicted. He was sen- 
tenced to serve life imprisonment. Five of the 
jurors believed him innocent. 

Perhaps the reader is curious to know what 
became of Paolino Streva, the young and power- 
ful leader of the Mafia of that time, the protector 
and patron of Morello. His fate will probably 
serve as a warning and please the reader. He 
is missing from the vicinity of Corleone for some 



260 THE BARREL MYSTERY 

time past. He quarrelled with Bernardo Verro, 
the very popular leader of the Socialist party in 
Corleone, and caused Verro to be shot. The 
shooting was inaccurate, though, and Verro re- 
covered. Then the friends of Verro thought 
they would do a little shooting of their own, and 
they attempted to hit Streva on three different 
occasions, but were unsuccessful. Then Verro's 
friends went after Streva still more effectively. 
They burned down his house and barns and de- 
stroyed his farm lands. Streva suddenly disap- 
peared and his whereabouts are not known. 

As for Morello, he is safely lodged in the At- 
lanta Federal Prison on a sentence of twenty- 
five years for counterfeiting. He is, however, 
no longer in danger of being prosecuted for the 
murder of Vella because the Italian Code pro- 
vides that a man cannot be tried for a crime when 
twenty years have expired after the committing 
of the felony. 

As for Ortonello and his family I can state 
that his wife and children are now in New York 
and prospering. The old man himself, I am 
happy to state, is free through friendly influences 
I have succeeded in bringing to bear on his case. 
He has taken a new grip on life since the day of 



"BLACK-HAND" PROPAGANDA 261 

his release, even though he is broken in body 
and weighted with years, showing plainly the 
terrible suffering of his twenty-three years of 
unmerited prison life. His spirit is revived and 
his mind is clear. He prays for me and mine. 



CHAPTER XXVII 



THE WATCHWORD OF THE BLACK-HANDERS" 



"Have no fear — I am not asleep — and I have 
not slept ever since that time!" 

These ominous words were underscored in a 
letter written by Morello, the arch-bandit, to a 
friend in Palermo who had warned the chief to 
be on his guard against betrayal in his extensive 
criminal operations. The words "that time" un- 
doubtedly refer back to the Corleone murders 
that made the chief change his habitat from the 
mountain haunts of the Mafia to the by-ways of 
New York. 

I have quoted Morello because in that ominous 
sentence he has spoken the watchword of the 
"Black-Handers" in New York City. The 
criminal element among the Italians here is not 
sleeping. At the time he penned these words 
Morello had advanced to the leadership of the 

262 



THE WATCHWORD 263 

worst and most elusive band of criminals that 
ever slipped past the scrutiny of the Ellis Island 
officials. 

In contrast to the criminal element, the hon- 
est Italians of New York City, and other large 
centers of population in this country, are cer- 
tainly sleeping. It is a restless, fearful sleep in 
which they are indulging. A sleep from which 
they will be aroused sometimes by a bomb at 
their door, or by the stealing of the smallest child 
in their household, or by a knife-thrust in the 
dark. The Italian, the honest Italian, the good 
citizen, knows that what I say is true. 

But why does the honest Italian go back and 
I sleep again when he knows that the same danger 
is imminent still? 

The honest Italian is drugged with fear. 

He fears to open his mouth and tell the police 
and the government officials about the threats 
that have been sent to him by letter or by those 
whom he knows are among the criminal ele- 
ment. His mouth is closed with the drug of 
fear. He goes back to sleep in silence not re- 
alizing that by so doing he invites another crime 
upon his household. 

The antidote for the drug of fear is courage. 



264, THE BARREL MYSTERY 

Perhaps courage is not the correct word; I 
mean rather disregard of threats. If the honest 
Italians in this country would disregard the 
threats of the very small number of criminals 
among them, the "Black Hand" nuisance would 
be wiped out before the sun returned to the 
meridian many times. If the honest Italian 
would help the police authorities by telling the 
facts when threatened there would be a swift 
ending of the "Black Hand" gang. 

The reason for the fear in the mind of the 
honest, and even the most intelligent, Italians is 
born of the thought that such leaders as Morello 
and Lupo, were more than human in their crafti- 
ness, and had dark and mysterious ways of avoid- 
ing the best detectives in this country, and that 
they could even commit murder and laugh in the 
teeth of the police. The answer to such a 
thought is the sentences imposed on Morello, 
Lupo and the other members of the gang now 
confined in the federal prison. If there are other 
leaders of less magnitude than these two, and 
who have caused any Italian fear through threat 
or otherwise, I invite such honest Italian to tell 
me what he knows. There are cells unoccupied 
in many prisons. 



THE WATCHWORD 265 

In conclusion I ask the honest Italian to dis- 
regard the idea that the criminals of his race are 
infallible and may not be reached by the law. It 
is to honest Italians particularly that I send out 
this book. I repeat the words of Giuseppe Mo- 
rello : 

"Have No Fear, I Am Not Asleep, and 
Have Not Slept Ever Since That Time." 



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